With Yanks looming, Braves pushing for A.J.

The RAB Radio Show - December 4, 2008 - Episode 3
Torre: Pettitte not coming to LA

Sick of a slow Hot Stove League and not prepared to wait for the CC Sabathia drama to resolve itself, the Atlanta Braves are pushing hard to land A.J. Burnett, according to a few reports. In doing so, they may force the Yanks to act sooner than the Bombers would prefer.

The action started this morning when Tony Massarotti reported that believes the Braves were preparing a five-year, $80-million offer for Burnett. At the same time, Ken Davidoff suggested that the Yanks may be willing to give Burnett a fifth year as a vesting option.

Since then, the news has picked up a bit. Via MLB Trade Rumors, David O’Brien at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on a definite offer forthcoming from Atlanta at four years with an option and $15 million per year. Thus, enter the Yankees. O’Brien’s sources are claiming that the Yankees will make an offer to Burnett today or tomorrow. I guess everyone is sick of waiting for CC.

I believe that Burnett remains a second choice for the Yanks, but the team can no longer afford to be held hostage by a stalling Sabathia. The Braves don’t want to see Burnett pulled out from under them if Sabathia heads elsewhere, and I don’t blame them. Atlanta would like to resolve the Burnett situation before Sabathia signs, but Burnett, who already left money on the table once this winter by opting out, would be better off waiting for Sabathia to sign. I’m lukewarm on Burnett and would prefer to see him signed to a four-year deal with that option. The wheels, it seems, are starting to turn.

The RAB Radio Show - December 4, 2008 - Episode 3
Torre: Pettitte not coming to LA
  • Mike Pop

    “I guess everyone is sick of waiting for CC”
    Panda Watch !

  • frank

    I’d still prefer Sheets at 2 years guaranteed with a third year option and then add Braden Looper for the 4th/5th spot. If the Yanks also sign CC, it’s gravy. I’ll take my chances with Wang, Joba, Sheets, Looper and Hughes/Aceves or perhaps another pitcher acquired via trade.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Looper? Why would the Yanks ever want, need or consider Braden Looper?

    • Thomas

      I believe Looper did not enjoy his time in NY when he was with the Mets.

      Oh yeah, he also isn’t very good.

    • E-ROC

      I’d rather have Pettitte over Looper any day. Heck, I’d much rather run the risk of having Mark Mulder or Mark Prior as my 4/5 starter instead of Looper.

    • A.D.

      Just give Hughes & Aceves spots instead of wasting money with Looper…he’s a NL bottom of the rotation guy.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      I’d still prefer Sheets at 2 years guaranteed with a third year option and —

      Frank, your comment would have been perfect had you ended it right there.

    • Will forsythe

      You must be related to Looper or a red sox fan.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        Are you related to Logan?

    • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

      I would rather sign Bobby Abreu to be our number 4 or 5 starter over Branden Looper.

      I’m with you on Sheets.

      Seriously, any shot at Erik Bedard getting non tenderd and we could pick him up?

  • MS

    Not sure if I want Burnett for 4 years, never mind 5 years. However, maybe this speeds up CC decision. If the Yanks signed Burnett and Lowe, they may forget about CC (not that I want that). If the Yanks ever pulled their offer from him he would lose quite a bargaining chip to raise his price.

  • AndrewYF

    I’d be a-ok with a 4-year, $17 million deal with a vesting option (400 IP in 2011 and 2012?) for a 5th year.

    • Yank Crank 20

      I wouldn’t be against that deal, but I certainly wouldn’t be doing backflips.

  • Frank

    Imagine how exhausted Carl Pavano is from waiting for CC to sign.

    • mustang

      LMAO

  • Tim

    I am not really a fan of Burnett, but the Yankees do need a starting pitcher. So if CC is not going to sign quickly I can see that the Yanks cannot afford to wait for all the other options to come off the market.

    I think that the Yankees getting involved with Burnett and possibly getting serious with Lowe will serve as a serious challenge to CC. If he is just waiting for other offers to drive up the price from the Yanks then I think that this is the first signal that the game will soon be over. If he doesn’t want to come to the Yanks then the world may soon know that the Yankees are no longer an option for him.

    • http://jobatheheat jobatheheat

      exactly.

  • Bill

    Sign him now and this could put a liitle pressure on CC to see where we stand with him.

    • A.D.

      It would be more of chip where the yanks can say hey we got Burnett, Wang, Joba, and 2 of Pettitte/Hughes/Aceves/IPK, we’re fine and can walk away from CC, but still have the ability to sign him. Basically the same type of leverage Swisher can have on a Tex signing

      • Yank Crank 20

        Couldn’t have said it any better.

    • Thomas

      Or this could give a baseline for CC contract, which could come back to hurt the Yankees. For example, if Burnett gets $15M per for 5 years from the Yankees, Sabathia could say that he is worth 7 years at $25M annually, because he is much better/younger/healthier/ect.

      • A.D.

        He already has a record contract on the table… it’ll be hard to push it up that much further because of other players… only other bidders can really do that.

        • Thomas

          Good point. I didn’t think of that.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          True. Burnett signing would only affect our leverage, as our (perceived) main fallback option would be gone. And, personally, I believe that leverage issue to be minimal as we’ve already said we’d be adding two pitchers, presumably CC+1, so I don’t buy this angle untill Sheets, Lowe, et. al are also off the board.

          But CC’s price was already set by the Santana contract.

          • A.D.

            CCs price was pretty much set by that, but if the Yankees look up and have Burnett, Joba, Wang, Are about to sign Pettitte, and then give a spot to Aceves/IPK/Hughes then they’re fine with a rotation.

            CC could be a little worried as teams seem to be floating the economy on why they aren’t willing to spend, which could cause an external shock to player salaries, instead of the up, up, up we’ve seen.

            Probably if this actually plays out, a team like the Giants, Angels, or Dodgers would be happy to toss a 100-120 offer out if the Yankee offer wasn’t as certain.

            In reality the leverage won’t save anything off the 140, just get CC to sign or not push it higher.

    • Mike Pop

      I dont think CC would feel any presure from that

  • Bryan

    Burnett has amazing stuff but with the risk he carries let him go to the Braves

  • radnom

    The only reason I care about this in the slightest is because Burnett signing before CC would severely cost the Yankees on leverage when negotiating with Sabbathia. Like $10 million cost.

    Otherwise, let the Brave have him.
    I’m sure they will be enjoying this deal in 5 years.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      The only reason I care about this in the slightest is because Burnett signing before CC would severely cost the Yankees on leverage when negotiating with Sabbathia. Like $10 million cost.

      I’d rather lose the leverage and pay CC an extra 15M than give 4+1 to Burnett.

  • jsbrendog

    wouldn’t this screw milwaukee out of the yanks pick? the first type a signed nets their old team the best pick right?

    • AndrewYF

      No, it’s *best* Type A signed. Remember the draft isn’t until June.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Nope, it’s by descending order of Elias ranking, not chronological order of signing.

      The Brewers will still get our #1, even if CC doesn’t sign with us till January.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        “Teixeira, the Angels first baseman, received the highest grade at 98.889, while Sabathia, the ace of the Brewers, was third at 98.110 in the rankings that are used to determine which players are Type A and B free agents.”

        Tex is the only signing that would keep Milwaukee from getting a teams #1.

        • Mike Pop

          How old are you guy with no sense of humor and very long name… Are you old enough to be trusted?

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            I’m an unborn fetus, telepathically speaking to my unwed, teenage drug-addicted nerd-dweeb mother in utero as she transcribes my thoughts across the internet from a computer in a public library. All we do is smoke crack and make love to Excel spreadsheets all day.

            Sadly, niether of us are old enough to have witnessed the mastery of Donald Arthur Mattingly playing baseball in person, so no, we aren’t to be trusted.

            • Mike Pop

              I KNEW IT !

            • jsbrendog

              this is just awesome. who doesn’t like a good old fashioned happy ending

    • jsbrendog

      thank you sirs

  • mustang

    I’m still on the fence with both Lowe and Burnett. One is old and one is injury prone and for what they are asking I just don’t know if it’s a good investment. I’m starting to think that Sheets is the best bit at least if they get burn it wouldn’t be for so much money or years.
    Still I haven’t heard anything connecting Sheets to the Yankees. Has anyone?

  • Tim

    I am now envisioning a scenario where the Yankees sign AJ ans another pitcher. Then this unfolds:

    Agent: It seems that the Yankees no longer need pitching and have pulled their $140M offer
    CC: Surely you can’t be serious
    Agent: I am serious and stop calling me Shirley
    CC: WHAT

    • Tim

      Ok I hit reply to soon:

      CC: What the fucking fuck
      Agent: Now the only offer on the table is $100M from the Brewers, and I am concerned that they are not actually serious about paying you
      CC: Bring me a chicken pot pie!

  • Thomas

    I would prefer the Yanks pass on Burnett for Sheets.

    However, this is the type of offer I hope the Yankees give Burnett, 5 years at $15M per with an opt out after year 2 or 3. I still don’t know if I’d be happy, if Burnett accepted that.

  • http://jobatheheat jobatheheat

    Burnett for 4 yrs 17 mil a yr .5th yr our option with incentives. Then go after Sheets 2-3 yr deal. This will let CC know we want him on our team. But were gona be competitive next year regardless. Maybee if we do it in that order we end up with all 3. Then hopefully get a bat. Dunn over Manny any day.Say no to Lowe.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Burnett for 4 yrs 17 mil a yr .5th yr our option with incentives. Then go after Sheets 2-3 yr deal. This will let CC know we want him on our team.

      1) Wang
      2) Joba
      3) Burnett
      4) Sheets
      5) Hughes + IPK + Aceves + Betances + Brackman + McAllister + Sanchez

      Sadly, we would no longer have room for CC on our team in that scenario. Signing two of the pitchers available (CC, Burnett, Sheets, Lowe) is a good idea. Signing three is not. We have two good starters, we only need two more.

      We’d be better off, from a roster flexibility, player development, and resource allocation standpoint to leave that fifth spot open for our young guns (or possibly Andy on a short-term bridge deal) and spend that third starter money on offense (or save it for next winter.)

      • Mike Pop

        I dont think it would be smart to sign both Sheets and Burnett. One injury ridden pitcher in your rotation is bad enough but if we had both of them for this upcoming year with both Hughes and Joba on innings limits we could end up in a real bad spot.

        • Mike Pop

          Ideally we would sign CC and one of Sheets or Burnett plus Andy.. Give us those 3 with Wang and Joba. You have potentially 2 or 3 great starters and the rest of the rotation should be above average. I want Tex but not at the expense of not having CC.

        • mustang

          Agree.

      • mustang

        I rather sign Andy as the 5th starter and have Hughes start the season in AAA as a back-up.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          I’m fine with that.

  • pat

    Action is needed soon. Seems like sheets is plan C if anything, He might not be available to fall back on though come sunday if he decides to accept arbitration and re enter the market next year when economic conditions are hopefully better. I just really really dont wanna see cashman with nothing but his balls in his hands if sheets accepts arb, burnett goes to atl and cc really wants to stay in cali. Then its most likely 2009 FTL.

  • Mike Pop
    • Conan the Barack O’Brian

      I’m going out on a large limb: Francisco Martinez will not get traded by the Mets or any team this winter.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Unborn Fetus Regrettably Not Old Enough To Have Witnessed the Mastery of Donald Arthur Mattingly In Person

        I’m going out on a large limb: Francisco Martinez will not get traded by the Mets or any team this winter.

        Limb #2: The Mets will not sign closer Fernando Rodriguez, nor will they ink outfielder Ramon Ibañez.

        • Lanny

          Limb 2 is falling to their death.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Unborn Fetus Regrettably Not Old Enough To Have Witnessed the Mastery of Donald Arthur Mattingly In Person

            You know I’m cracking on the names and not actually predicting anything, right?

  • Conan the Barack O’Brian

    Understandably this rarely comes up, but what of Pavano?

    I still think that what happens with Pavano will be pretty interesting, in any case. I’m not totally opposed to him returning under the right circumstances, but with all that remains up in the air with Pettitte, could Pavano be the third free agent pitcher signing…if we get two studs like CC and AJ? That would be all kinds of ironic, that Moose and Pettitte do not return, but Pavano does. Why on Earth I allow myself to be this stupid is a corollary question.

    • Conan the Barack O’Brian

      * I’m not totally opposed to him returning, COMMA, or OF COURSE, or LARGE BLOATED PAUSE FOR EFFECT, under the right circumstances*

      Otherwise I’m saying I want him under awful circumstances, I think.

      • jsbrendog

        haha, i have said this from the beginning too. make him an offer and if he comes back (which he should cause he and his agent said he had “something to prove”) then good, see hat you get. if he doesn’t it only further exposes him as a phony and gives us more fodder for blogging. so either way its win win for us haha

      • Old Ranger

        To be honest I have floated the same idea, I mean…signing Pavano to a incentive leaden contract. In one way it would be a very bold and reactionary step for Cash to take but, conversely it is sound business. Most (if not all) good pitchers are mentally tough, Pavono was a very good pitcher (before injuries), he came back before he should have, to pitch this year…he had no arm power but, still did well. He can be a good #4 or maybe even a #3 pitcher, if healthy.
        I realize many here (Myself included) don’t like the guy…but business is business, I have signed guys on that I disliked. The team should come 1st and foremost, Pavono had some freak injuries, so what. The guy can flat out pitch and that is what we need…the key word is ‘incentives”. Yes he only had 1 or 2 good productive years but, he can be better then many other FA pitchers.
        Ok guys, let me have it! 27/09.

    • Ed

      Wow, Burnett and Pavano, talk about injury risk…

      • Old Ranger

        Why Burnett and Pavano? I would go with Pavano and Andy with Tex. Just trying to look down the line a bit, short term contracts give the young guns a chance to move up as they push the big guys out. Plus, it gives the team that elusive flexibility and money to spend on other people, as needed. 27/09.

        • Lanny

          I think the Pavano ship has sailed. Thankfully. They can do better as an incentive laden deal for a 5th starter.

          • Old Ranger

            It may be best! Ok, it was a bad idea but I would have liked to see it happen…more fun! He will be a good pitcher, for someone. 27/09.

  • http://liberalmusings.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos
    • A.D.

      In their defense his productive years pre-injury he only cost 1.5-2m a year for the Braves

  • Rob in CT

    The Braves are thinking about AJ? Fantastic. Let them have him. By all means.

  • A.D.

    Looks like others are getting tired of waiting for CC… Lowe apparently has contracts on the table.

    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2008/12/04/teams_starting_to_make_pitches/?rss_id=Boston.com+–+Red+Sox+news

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Unborn Fetus Regrettably Not Old Enough To Have Witnessed the Mastery of Donald Arthur Mattingly In Person

      “…free agent Derek Lowe received offers from at least two teams, including the world champion Phillies. The identity of Lowe’s second pursuer was unclear, though the same source indicated that the team was neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox, both of whom are expected to speak with Lowe’s representative, Scott Boras, later this week.”

      Hmm…

      Mets?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

        I think your user name is now longer than most people’s comments.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Unborn Fetus Regrettably Not Old Enough To Have Witnessed the Mastery of Donald Arthur Mattingly In Person

          It’s certainly longer than this one.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

            It’s now long enough to actually expand the gmail window when I open the comments to read them.

          • mustang

            hint.. hint

      • mustang

        I think Boras is working overtime. God I wish he was my union rep.

  • A.D.
    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Unborn Fetus Regrettably Not Old Enough To Have Witnessed the Mastery of Donald Arthur Mattingly In Person

      “…The Yankees always used Torre as their head recruiter this time of year. Mike Mussina, for instance, credited Torre for convincing him to sign with the Yankees…”

      Give yourself a pat on the back, Chris C.

  • Lanny

    What is with the Sheets fascination?

    The guy is a walking calamity of injuries. He works less than Pavano. He makes Burnett look like a workhorse.

    • whozat

      Not entirely true. Burnett has missed more time than you think. Coming off one of his few full seasons, he will command a longer deal. They are comparable performance-wise — Sheets has a lesser FB, but walks a lot fewer guys.

      Essentially, the rationale is, if you’re going to take on an injury-risk, take the one to whom you can commit fewer years.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Unborn Fetus Regrettably Not Old Enough To Have Witnessed the Mastery of Donald Arthur Mattingly In Person

      The guy is a walking calamity of injuries… He makes Burnett look like a workhorse.

      Ben Sheets Games Started and Innings Pitched, 2001-2008:
      221 and 1428.0

      A.J. Burnett Games Started and Innings Pitched, 2001-2008:
      191 and 1252.3

  • mustang

    Man this is fun.
    News changing hour-to-hour rumors flying everywhere and everyone with a point of view.
    And this is the off-season I love baseball

  • Jon W.

    No A.J. Burnett, not now, not ever. Please let this idle rumormongering.

  • mustang

    General manager J.P. Ricciardi admitted in an interview Thursday that “it looks like we’re going to lose Burnett,”

    NO… really

    • Baseballnation

      God what I wouldn’t trade to nab Halladay. Mike touched on it and said something like Hughes Jackson, Cano….That’s steep but it’s something I’d sit at the table mulling to fire off on that.

      • mustang

        I here that.

        • Old Ranger

          Surprised at your response Mustang.
          Why would you even consider that move? Just asking, did I miss something ( I know, I miss a lot)? I realize he is a very very good pitcher but, giving up that much for any pitcher? 27/09.

          • mustang

            I don’t know about that exact deal, but for Halladay I would drive Hughes and Jackson to Canada myself. Cano is too much, but I would be more then willing to talk.

      • Old Ranger

        Can’t see any pitcher worth that deal…two front line starters (possible) in Jackson and Phil and one major league position starter…nada, no way. 27/09.

        • Chip

          One front line starter, Jackson is a centerfielder

          • Old Ranger

            …”two front line starters (possible) in Jackson and Phil”. Starters are not only pitchers, as; Jeter is a starter. Key word here is; Possible. Two that are Possible starters=A-Jax and Phil. Does that make it better, sometimes I don’t word things the right way, because I know what I mean…but ain’t got no lur nings.

        • mustang

          Halladay last 3 years:
          2006- 16-5 /220 IP era 3.19
          2007- 16-7 /225 IP era 3.71
          2008- 20-11 /246 IP era 2.78

          He has a 2.97 career era at Yankees Stadium.

          Maybe not that deal, but lets talk PLEASE.

          • mustang

            Those numbers are in the AL East.
            DAMN !!!

          • Old Ranger

            Your last line was very good, I’d buy into that. 27/09.

          • mustang

            And he sign until 2011/.
            2009-14.25 million
            2010- 15.75 million
            They would be crazy to trade him.

  • dkidd

    it’s one thing to roll the dice on a young, injury-prone pitcher with great stuff. aj burnett has been pitching for 10 years and has managed to start 30 games 3 times.

    pass!!!

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Unborn Fetus Regrettably Not Old Enough To Have Witnessed the Mastery of Donald Arthur Mattingly In Person

      And, he’s not even that good. He’s an above average pitcher. He’s not a great pitcher. His career ERA+ is 111. The greatest amount he’s ever been better than league average was 6 years ago, before his TJ surgery, in 2002 when he put up a 3.30 ERA in the NL when the average was 4.03.

      Outside of that blip, he’s basically been a glorified #3 pitcher. He strikes out a ton of guys, so he appears better than he is, but he puts runners on base and gives up runs.

      Giving a contract like what he wants to a guy who’s not only not an ace but not even a #2 is a bit much.

      • mustang

        Agree, the more people talk about AJ the less I like him at that price.

        • dkidd

          ben sheets has better career numbers and could be signed for less years

          pick your brittle poison…

  • Bryan

    Heres an interesting thought. Could/would the Mariners non-tender Bedard? And if so, could anyone see him coming to the Yanks?

    • dkidd

      erik bedard = ed whitson with more hockey skills

    • mustang

      I could, but as a 4th maybe a 3rd starter something with less pressure then a 1 or 2.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Unborn Fetus Regrettably Not Old Enough To Have Witnessed the Mastery of Donald Arthur Mattingly In Person

        Yeah, that’s what NYC is perfect for. A pressure-free environment.

        • mustang

          Your right.

  • dkidd

    could be just me, but bedard seems way too soft for nyc

  • mustang

    I know I’m going to kill for this, but how about Oliver Perez. I know he is not at the level of some of these guys, but he is 27 years old and when he on forget it. But even I’m having trouble writing this as I look at his numbers.
    What do you guys think?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I think he walked 100 guys in the NL last year. Pass.

      • mustang

        Damn he did that ends that.