Nov
15

What Went Wrong: A.J. Burnett

By

The Yankees added two high priced free agent starters last offseason, and while CC Sabathia has been worth every penny of his contract so far, the same can’t be said of A.J. Burnett. He was good enough during his first year in pinstripes and nothing short of brilliant in the team’s most important game of the 2009 season, but Burnett’s follow-up campaign was well below expectations and left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Ironically enough, Burnett’s season started in a very good way. Following his first outing of the year, in which he allowed three runs in five innings against the Red Sox, Burnett went through a stretch in which he allowed zero earned runs in three of four starts. His ERA sat at 1.99 through his first five starts of the season (with a sparkly 4-1 record), and after eleven starts he was still sporting a 3.28 ERA while the Yanks were 8-3 with him on the mound. There were some warning signs, however, most notably with A.J.’s strikeout rate. It had dropped to just 6.7 K/9, just about two full strikeouts off from last year’s pace. But hey, it was just eleven starts and Burnett was throwing the ball well, we all figured the strikeouts would come eventually.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Well, the low strikeout rate did, but not the success. In his 12th start of the season Burnett allowed six runs in six innings against the Blue Jays. Six days later he surrendered four runs in six innings to the Orioles, and the next three starts after that resulted in 33 baserunners and 19 runs in just 10.1 innings. Put it all together and Burnett’s June was statistically the worst ever by a Yankee starter: five starts, five losses, an 11.35 ERA and an almost unfathomable .471 wOBA against. All of the good work he did in April and May was washed away, and halfway through the season he was sporting a 5.25 ERA and the Yanks were just 8-8 in his starts.

The June collapse coincided with the absence of the now departed pitching coach Dave Eiland, who was away for personal reasons. The narrative practically wrote itself, Burnett would get better once his regular pitching coach returns. And you know what? He did for a while. With Eiland back with the team, A.J. threw 6.2 scoreless innings against the Jays, then limited Oakland to two runs in seven innings next time out. Things seemed to be going well, but after the Rays hung for runs on him in just two innings, Burnett slammed his hand into a clubhouse door out of frustration, cutting it open. He apologized to his teammates and had his next pushed back a few days to deal with the injury, but he then threw 11.1 scoreless innings against the lowly Royals and Indians.

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

As late as August 1st Burnett had himself a tolerable 4.52 ERA that lined up with his 4.59 FIP, certainly not what the Yankees were expecting out of their Opening Day number two starter but not completely horrific. Well, that’s when things got horrific. In his first outing of August, the Jays scored eight runs before Burnett could complete the fifth. The rest of the month featured a 7.80 ERA and yet again five losses in five starts. After the end of July, A.J. pitched to a 6.61 ERA (5.23 FIP) and as hard as it is to believe, the Yankees won just two of his final dozen starts the rest of the season.

Unsurprisingly, Burnett did not make the team’s three-man ALDS rotation, and their pounding of the Twins meant his services weren’t needed in relief either. He did make the team’s ALCS rotation by default, taking the mound in Game Four with the Rangers up two games to one in the series. Burnett actually wasn’t terrible in that start, holding the Rangers to just a pair of runs (without the benefit of a ball leaving the infield) in the first five innings. With the tying run on second with two outs in the sixth inning, Joe Girardi had Burnett intentionally walk David Murphy to face Bengie Molina. The first pitch pitch of the encounter was supposed to be low and away but it wound up up and in, and Molina turned on it for a go-ahead three run homer. The damage was done, and instead of walking off the mound feeling good about himself, A.J. went back to the dugout hearing the loudest boos of the season. Rather remarkable considering how the fans treated him in the second half.

The end result of Burnett’s season was 33 starts but just 186.2 innings (almost exactly 5.2 IP per start), so he was taxing the bullpen on a regular basis. In fairness, that number is slightly skewed by three starts in which Burnett was forced to exit early due to rain. His 5.26 ERA was easily a career worst, though his 4.83 FIP was merely awful. The 6.99 batters Burnett struck out per nine innings pitched was his worst mark since 2001, and he led the league with 19 hit batters and 37 stolen bases allowed. All told, opposing batters posted a .362 wOBA against the Yanks’ $16.5M man, so he basically turned every hitter he faced into the 2010 version of Alex Rodriguez. The total package was worth just 1.3 fWAR, ranking 90th out of the 103 pitchers that threw at least 150 innings in 2010.

The Yankees knew that Burnett was pretty unpredictable when they signed him to that five-year, $82.5M contract last winter, but I don’t think anyone expected him to go south this hard, this quickly. The lack of strikeouts is most concerning, since the ability to miss bats was the one thing A.J. has excelled at his entire career. His curveball, which checked in at 16.0 runs above average in 2009 (fourth best in baseball) dropped off to 3.9 runs below average, one of the eleven worst in the game. Whoever replaces Eiland as pitching coach will have the work cut out for them, starting right here with Burnett.

Categories : Players
  • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

    At least he didn’t pitch like Josh Beckett, nor have the boyish good looks of John Lackey?

    • http://www.twitter.com/ngoral Jake LaMotta’s Left Hook

      I forgot how bad Beckett’s season was… wow, at least he split even with the wins and losses =\

      • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

        They’re still on the hook for 4 years and 68 million for him, too.

        • Jimmy McNulty

          His stuff still looked good and at least he had the injury excuse. If I didn’t want to beat Beckett to death with a cinderblock wrapped in sandpaper I’d definitely trade AJ for him.

          • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

            So you’d rather have the guy who not only is on the hook for more years, but has been injured lately too? I’ll pass.

            • Jimmy McNulty

              Younger guy with better stuff and better K and BB rates, yeah…I’d rather have that guy.

              • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

                Funny, I was told that AJ had the “better stuff” it’s almost like “stuff” isn’t a quantifiable thing.

                And when you say younger, you mean relatively because Beckett is entering his age 31 season, he isn’t exactly a spring chicken.

                As for their K/BB rates, they’re not all that different. Beckett struck out a batter more per 9 innings, and walked half a batter less. Yet his ERA+ was lower (75) compared to AJ (81) so again, I come back to the point that AJ is on the hook for less years so I’d stick with him rather than hoping Beckett rebounds enough to be worth 4 more years.

                • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

                  Don’t forget that Beckett is giant douche and AJ is generally likable.

                  • Jimmy McNulty

                    That right there is the kicker for me.

                  • jack

                    Of course. And of course it has nothing to do with you being a yankee fan. Believe me, talk to toronto about AJ. They’ll call him a douche. In fact, just about any non yankee fan will. The ridiculous pie face thing? That’s the sort of thing yankee fans eat up while other teams fans roll their eyes.

                    AJ = complete douche. You’re in denial.

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

                      AJ = complete douche. You’re in denial.

                      Where or not a player is a douche is completely irrelevant to anything.

                    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

                      The pie in the face thing made other teams so angry that… they started doing it too. See Rays, Angels, Rangers, etc..

                • Jimmy McNulty

                  Did you see AJ’s curve or K-rates last year?

            • Thomas

              Beckett is also younger, has much stronger peripherals, and had a higher fWAR this season.

              I think it is a toss up to say the least and I’d probably take Beckett.

              • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

                Like I said above, the peripherals off last year are better but not “much stronger”. And Beckett was worth less according to bWAR (-1.0) than AJ (-0.1) so unless you want to argue to take one WAR over the other you don’t have much of a case other than the fact that Beckett is younger. And even then, he’s on the wrong side of 30 too.

                • Jimmy McNulty

                  AJ is on the wronger side of 30…31 to 34? I’ll take the 31 year old with blister issues.

                  • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

                    He has back issues too, has for a couple seasons now.

                • JobaWockeeZ

                  How about that Beckett has been a better pticher than AJ in his career and had a reason why he was bad in 2010 other than AJ.

                  I’m taking Beckett every day of the week and twice on Sundays if we could get rid of AJ. And I hate Beckett with a passion.

                  • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

                    Because Beckett isn’t the pitcher he used to be, even when healthy? You act like he was pitching the whole year injured… he wasn’t. He was pretty shitty even when healthy. More shitty statistically than AJ in fact. You can be blinded by what Beckett used to be if you want, that’s fine. I’m not.

                    If all things were equal, yes, I’d take Beckett. But, Josh on a contract longer than AJ’s and, injuries or not, have both been awful.

                  • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

                    Josh Beckett has been slightly better in his career. Enough that if they had the same contract, I’d take Beckett. Probably not enough for me to take an extra year and 18 million bucks.

    • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS
  • Jimmy McNulty

    Lets hope that Carlos Zambrano takes a shit on one of the Rickets’ kids and kicks Jim Hendry in the nuts so Cash can trade AJ for the Big Z.

    • http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/yank_c.jpg T-Dubs

      I’ll stick with AJ. Owed less money. Slightly less insane. More recent success (in the AL no less).

      • http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/yank_c.jpg T-Dubs

        Plus if Zambrano is shitting on children, there’s a whole new set of problems.

        • Jimmy McNulty

          Yes, whether that would make a great headline or the greatest headline of all time.

      • Jimmy McNulty

        AJ is owed 49.5M Big Z is owed 35.875 and gets a player option if he finishes first or second in the CYA in 2011 or finishes top four in 2012 and is healthy at the end of the season, I don’t think anyone is worried about any of those two things happening. Plus Zambrano has never had an ERA+ under 115 since his rookie year. Don’t give me the FIP or xFIP argument either he has a career 3.50 ERA, a career 3.93 FIP and a career 4.13 xFIP in well over 1500 career innings. I don’t think it’s a fluke anymore.

        • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

          if he finishes first or second in the CYA in 2011 or finishes top four in 2012

          I really really really really really really want this to happen

          • Jimmy McNulty

            Yeah, I’m not worried about that happening.

            • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

              Why not? It wouldn’t be that hard, especially with five names on the Cy Young ballot now. If there are one or two (or even better, three like the NL last year) pitchers clearly head and shoulders above the rest, it wouldn’t be hard at all to sneak into fourth place. Plus, if that option vests, he is owed more than Burnett.

              • Jimmy McNulty

                Why not? It wouldn’t be that hard, especially with five names on the Cy Young ballot now. If there are one or two (or even better, three like the NL last year) pitchers clearly head and shoulders above the rest, it wouldn’t be hard at all to sneak into fourth place

                I’m pretty sure Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, and Jon Lester will do everything in their power to assure that will not happen. Typically they get sympathy votes from guys that vote for the pitcher in their town or Keith Law types that vote based on advanced stats for guys who have a strong case…e.g. Javier Vazquez in 2009.

                Plus, if that option vests, he is owed more than Burnett.

                Yes, and if my sister had wheels she’d be a bike.

              • Jimmy McNulty

                Furthermore, if Zambrano’s option vests that means that he’s pitched at least somewhat well…in which case most people would probably be okay with that happening.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      lol no

      • Jimmy McNulty

        Zambrano is a better pitcher than AJ Burnett, signed to a slightly higher AAV and is on the hook for a year less. They’d have to suffer through one year of a mercurial Big Z and be able to find a contender who needs the innings in 2011 and eat some salary and then be free of him…AJ they’re stuck with.

    • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

      Fun fact: Zambrano’s career (4.1) and 2010 (4.8!!) BB/9 is higher than Burnett’s (3.8 and…3.8).

      • Jimmy McNulty

        Another fun fact…he struck out a batter more an inning than AJ.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          Another fun fact… Zambrano gets to face pitchers

          I get the idea that people are looking to trade AJ (despite his limited no-trade clause). I get it. But not for Zambrano. You’re trading one crazily uneven pitcher with a bad contract for a headcase and another crazily uneven pitcher with a bad contract who’s hated by his teammates. No, thank you.

          • Jimmy McNulty

            Yeah, facing the pitcher at most once every nine batters adds another K per inning, makes perfect sense. Your blind homerism is ignoring the fact that Zambrano is a better pitcher who is on the hook for fewer years. 50M to 36M is a huge difference, also getting rid of a guy a year earlier is a nice perk too. I could give a shit whether the guy is hated by his teammates or not, hating each other worked just fine for the Bronx Zoo.

            • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

              When you’re trying to reach people with a decent argument, insult them and curse a lot. Always works!

              • http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/yank_c.jpg T-Dubs

                ok numbnuts!

                been looking for an excuse to use that for a few days now, yay!

            • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              “Yeah, facing the pitcher at most once every nine batters adds another K per inning, makes perfect sense.”

              No, he struck out one more batter per 9 innings, not per inning. And yes, facing the pitcher in the NL could definitely be a mitigating factor in that k/9 advantage.

              • Jimmy McNulty

                Yeah I mistyped that…I fixed it later. Hoping no one here was math savvy.

                • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Heh, no worries, we all make mistakes. It does significantly change your argument, though, in my opinion. Might want to acknowledge that/apologize to bexarama.

            • kosmo

              I like the idea of it.If NY signs Lee ,instead of the number 1 status Zambrano had in Chicago he would be looked upon as a 3 or 4 SP ,less pressure for the Big Z.
              Perhaps anger management is working???
              Burnett is not the same pitcher he was in 2008 his career highwater mark .

        • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

          That tends to happen when you face pitchers. The slight upgrade isn’t nearly enough to outweigh how much he is owed, and how batshit crazy he is.

          • Jimmy McNulty

            Like I said before, he faces a pitcher AT MOST once every nine batters…that doesn’t account for the drastically better K rates. He’s a better pitcher who is owed LESS money. Why isn’t this clicking with you?

            • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

              Burnett’s career K-rate is still higher (even after this year), despite spending the past five years in the AL. The problem this year wasn’t a lack of velocity, it was his curveball. It’s not crazy to think that might come back.

              • Jimmy McNulty

                It’s not crazy to think that might come back.

                This is basically the king of “if” statements, not that I’m trying to say it WILL come back…just that I think the likelihood of that happening is well below 20%.

                • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

                  And why is the likelihood of Zambrano, who had a worse K/BB, and 1.450 WHIP in the NL Central (not to mention just 9 fewer walks than AJ in 60 fewer innings) bouncing back that might higher in your mind?

                  • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

                    That should be “that much higher”

                  • Jimmy McNulty

                    He’s consistently out performed his peripherals throughout his career. The .4 difference in ERA and FIP and the .8 difference in xFIP and ERA over 1600 innings make me think that isn’t a fluke.

                    • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

                      I’m willing to believe he is slightly better than his peripherals, but this season he had a 1.450 WHIP, and a 3.33 ERA. The last time a pitcher had that stark a split in at least 120 innings was 1973, and that was a much lower scoring era. The last time someone had a 1.450 WHIP and an ERA+ as high as Zambrano’s 131 this year was 1938. Yea, that sounds sustainable.

                    • Jimmy McNulty

                      He had that awful start to the year and a less than inspiring trip to the bullpen, after he left the bullpen he was fine.

            • Colombo

              You don’t understand how facing a pitcher 2-3 times every nine innings could inflate your K/9??

              Zambrano is, at his best, an equal pitcher to AJ who has had all his success in the NL. No thank you.

              • Jimmy McNulty

                I doubt an NL pitcher faces a pitcher three times nine innings very often. Pitchers bunt frequently too…I’m not saying it doesn’t inflate it, just not to the degree where he’s striking out well over a batter more a start than AJ is.

                • RL

                  He did say “2-3″ times (not 3 as you state) per game. And yes, just 1 strikeout of the pitcher per outing would MORE than increase his strikeout rate by 1 per nine innings.

        • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          “Another fun fact…he struck out a batter more an inning per 9 innings than AJ.”

          Fixed.

          • Jimmy McNulty

            IIRC I fixed the typo in one of my later comments.

  • http://yanksdraftsandprospects.blogspot.com/ Jake H

    If only good AJ could show up for a whole season.

  • http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/yank_c.jpg T-Dubs

    I keep trying to convince myself that Game 2 of the ’09 World Series is worth that whole contract.

    • Fair Weather Freddy

      Maybe a new pitching coach can straighten him out.

      • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

        But Eiland will fix him!

        /posts from July 2010

        • Jimmy McNulty

          I hope they get A-Rod’s Dominican cousin to fix him.

    • murakami

      It is to me.

      I liked what I saw from AJ in his postseason start. Two things surfaced in that start that give me hope for 2011: uptick in velo that had been missing (less foul offs, more balls put in play as a result) and dusting off of change up that makes him much more effective.

      I can’t see AJ being as bad as 2010, unless the uptick in velo for that one game was just because of the 17 day layoff.

  • Fair Weather Freddy

    Adding Lee can take some of the pressure off AJ. He’d be the 3rd or 4th starter then.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      I don’t think it’s pressure that causes AJ to not strike batters out or lose a tick off his fastball.

    • Thomas

      If the Yankees add Lee and keep Pettitte, Burnett will be the 5th starter (CC, Lee, Pettitte, Hughes, Burnett). Also, Burnett essentially got demoted to the 4th starter last season, so by the end there wasn’t a ton of pressure, since the other pitchers were doing well.

  • ADam

    Head was up his a$$

    • Chris

      That must really screw up his mechanics.

  • bonestock94

    190+ innings, low 4 era in 2011. Book it.

  • ColoradoYankeeFan

    I think they should be ready to try AJ in the Pen. I realize he will be the most expensive set-up man in baseball history (this side of Carlos Zambrano). But he does have top-line closer stuff and if it works out he could be the next closer.

    • bonestock94

      He doesn’t need to be great, just an innings eater that can keep this offense in a game. He’ll be much more valuable that way vs. any reliever.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Phil Hughes 2009 WAR: 2.4
        Phil Hughes 2010 WAR: 2.4

        If AJ sucks for another year I would definitely look into a bullpen transition.

        • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

          The problem with comparing starter WAR to reliever WAR is that it costs a lot less to replace a reliever than it does a starter. There are economic reasons to keep Hughes in the rotation.

        • bonestock94

          Hughes was a very good reliever and an slightly better than average starter.

    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

      You want a closer who walks as many guys and gives up as many homers as AJ does? I’ll pass.. right now about the only thing AJ does is chew up innings, let him keep doing it. Plus, who is going to take his spot? Unless one of the kids are ready it makes no sense.

    • vin

      If 2010 AJ is here to stay, I actually think he would make a worse reliever than he would a starter. Payroll and psyche issues aside, putting this incarnation of AJ in the pen would be disastrous. Yankee fans thought Joba was inconsistent this year. Imagine AJ? He goes from utterly dominating to error-prone and hittable from one pitch to the next.

      Like it or not, his value lies in his ability to take the ball every 5th day and occassionally dominate.

      His symptoms won’t be remedied in the pen.

  • http://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I think people overrate his playoff start. He managed to get through five innings through, I can only assume, divine intervention. He wasn’t pitching *well*

    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

      He was pitching well though, got BABIP’d on the couple runs he did give up early, then it all fell apart. Story of his 2010 season, really.

      • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

        BABIP was .319. High, but not that-has-to-get-better high

      • http://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

        The runs that scored early were the same old story of him having absolutely no idea where the ball is going. Walk, wild pitch, hit batter…

  • Reggie C.

    AJ’s got to pitch better next season simply ’cause he really can’t pitch any worse.

    There’s hope yet at the 4th spot!

    • Thomas

      AJ’s got to pitch better next season simply ’cause he really can’t pitch any worse.

      Not to be doom and gloom here, but yes he can definitely pitch worse.

      • vin

        Hey, you leave Beckett, Kazmir, Shields and Vazquez out of this!

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Charles Barkley would have to add an extra “r” to “Turrrible” to describe AJ’s season.

  • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

    A.J. Burnett: Nope.

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      in 2011 we spell redemption AJ Burnett

      • kosmo

        Redemption from what ?
        Burnett is a 33 yr old career .500 pitcher whose best years are behind him.He wasn´t worth the money NY shelled out to begin with and sadly NY is saddled with a bad contract.

        • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

          I think he’ll have a rebound year. He still has the stuff to be successful in this league. It’s not like he is Javy and is throwing 85 MPH

  • sfly6844

    hi all newbie here,

    If Yanks sign C.Lee and Mets would eat the cash(or somehow yanks balance it) how many would do Burnett for Beltran? Beltran had a bad few years, but ability is there and a change with the last year of contract will inspire that ability. NL could do wonders for Burnett who frustrates me with his inconsistent pitching. also would free yanks to move N.Swisher who i like a lot, but maybe better to sell high on him and get more reliable pitching than Burnett. back to lurking………

    fly

    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

      I will leave out the snark since you’re new here:

      Why would the Mets take on Burnett’s albatross contract? Even if you could prove he’d pitch better in the NL, he still walks far too many guys and would just still be just as inconsistent. And I mean, the Yankees have no need for a CF in his contract year but I’d do it just to be rid of Burnett, and that tells me that the Mets would never do it.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        I will leave out the snark since you’re new here.

        We should do that regardless. I understand if someone does it to a bridge jumper or a troll but if someone coems in with a trade proposal which sucks like everyone else’s they should be safe from snark even if someone’s been here for years.

        I gotta try refraining from that too…

        • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

          Trade proposals were made for snarky comments, though!

    • JobaWockeeZ

      They have to eat at least half of AJ’s contract and all of Beltran’s contract with the Yankees adding in a couple of B/C level prospects.

      And there’s no spot for Beltran. I’d rather have any of the Yankees 3 outifelders than him.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      A few questions: why would the Mets take Burnett’s contract? There’s absolutely nothing enticing about it for the Mets. As for Beltran, that doesn’t make an awful lot of sense for the Yankees. Why should they take a risk on his healthy while taking up his money? Swisher may not have the name, but he’s cheap. He’s likely to outplay the value of his contract; at this point, I don’t think we can say the same for Beltran. I still don’t get why people want to move Swisher.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Any player who shows up to work with a black eye during the season that goes unexplained is…..

    trouble(d)??

    fill in the blank but it ain’t gonna be good

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Babe Ruth missed a ton of time for unexplained issues and he worked out ok.

      • Monteroisdinero

        He could have been so much better! Mickey too… If only those guys took care of themselves.

        /lol’d

  • Avi

    What Went Wrong? Simple: Cashman signed him.
    Prior to signing with the yanks Burnett was a guy with a career ERA around 4.00, WHIP about 1.30, was basically a .500 pitcher and had spent 40% of the previous SIX SEASONS ON THE DL!
    Burnett, Pavano, Jaret Wright, Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Kei Igawa, Vazquez part one and Vazquez part two..
    That’s roughly $300M that would’ve been put to better use as fire wood.
    He also let Pettitte go after the ’03 season in favor of kevin brown.
    Cashman is dreadful when it comes to making pitching decisions. This is fact. And just like I don’t debate weather the sky is blue I won’t debate this.
    If you think differently you’re either high or an immediate family member of his.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      This gets such a big facepalm.

    • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

      You know who has a career ERA “around 4″? Josh Beckett, whose career ERA is 3.96.

    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

      Now find me a GM who hasn’t made a mistake in 10 years on the job.

    • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

      Citing wins and losses? Check

      Saying “this is not up for debate” on something that is very clearly up for debate? Check

      Lumping all in-retrospect-bad pitching decisions that were all quite different from one another together because they all ended the same way? Check

      Some variation on “anyone who thinks otherwise is crazy”? Check

      With the bonus square…BINGO!!!

      • Avi

        “Citing wins and losses? Check”

        While a starter’s record over one season may not be indicative of his actual performance (i.e Felix), over a career I believe it is.
        Show me one really good pitcher who’s record over a five year period isn’t well above .500.

        • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena
        • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

          Johan Santana is 24-18 the last two years with the Mets, despite posting ERA+ of 130 and 131. That’s just the first person who came to my mind, I’m sure there are better examples. Wins and losses are, as always, awful measures of pitcher performance.

        • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

          Matt Cain, Hiroki Kuroda, Ben Sheets, Zack Greinke, Matt Garza, <a href="http://www.baseball-reference......&quot; Jeremy Guthrie, Dallas Braden, etc., etc., etc.

          And that’s just in the last ten years.

          • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

            Bah, forgot to close the tag. Jeremy Guthrie

            • Avi

              So you guys believe that Burnett’s almost .500 career record had nothing to do with his actually performance as a pitcher?
              I’d like to check, but I can’t believe his run support over all those years was worse than some of those guys (johan, Cain)

              • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

                Avi: W-L record is undeniable evidence of a pitcher’s talent! Unless it goes against my argument, in which case it’s not!

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      One thing they all have in common:

      They all can’t handle NY.

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

      Wright and RJ most certainly were not Cashman decisions. George wanted Wright because he taught it would lure Mazzone to NY, plus he had been slobbering over RJ for a decade.

      • Avi

        Could be. I don’t think Cashman is the only guy involved in player personnel decisions in general. it’s an indictment on the whole front office as much as it is on Cashman.

        • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

          So are you high or one of his kids?

          • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

            Boom, roasted.

          • Avi

            Ha!
            Fine. The YANKEES have been awful with their pitching decisions. It’s hard to who’s calling the shots at different times. So because Cashman is the figure head I talk about him.
            The point is whatever process/personnel are in place to make these decisions needs to be changed!

    • theyankeewarrior

      And if he never signed AJ, we would have never won the 09 WS. We were already entering the playoffs using a 3-man rotation. Imagine what it would have been like without AJ?

      Pavano was the highest sought-after pitcher on the market in his prime after the ’04 season. He was signed to a reasonable 4-year deal. He got injured. That’s not Cashman’s fault.

      Cash never wanted to make the Johnson deal, but was forced to by upper management. RIP.

      That leaves Igawa (international business move) Wright (4th.5th starter bust) Brown (risk/reward) and Vaz part II (a depth move) as his bad moves over the course of 13 seasons.

      Who is to say that there were better alternatives to those guys on the market? Would Gil Meche have won us a WS? How about Dice-K? Or maybe we should have signed Zito!

      • ZZ

        And if he never signed AJ, we would have never won the 09 WS.

        How do you know this?

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

      Making a very bold post with many debatable points, then saying “I won’t debate this” and “if you think differently you’re high” is always a great way to make friends. Anyway, other people have jumped on your, um, excellent points, so here’s my contribution:

      He also let Pettitte go after the ’03 season in favor of kevin brown.

      While we can’t really be sure what exactly happened there, Pettitte left to be closer to home. He wasn’t kicked out of the organization and they didn’t choose Kevin Brown/Javier Vazquez over him, those guys are just what they went after once Pettitte (and Clemens) left because they needed pitching and that’s what was available.

      • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

        Didn’t Pettitte take less money in Houston?

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

          I believe so.

          BUT THAT’S CLEARLY JUST BECAUSE CASHMAN PUSHED HIM OUT

          • Avi

            I clearly remember a radio interview that francesa did with Cashman shortly after Pettitte signed with Houston where Cashman said he refused to go to $14M a year with Pettitte. Mike then sort of challenged him by asking something to the effect “YOU decided to let Andy go instead of going to $14M”
            and Cashman said a clear “yes” standing his ground.
            A move that hurt the Yankees terribly!

            • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

              Dude, you’re Mr. We Should Not Give Derek Jeter A Cent More Than He Is Worth Or Else The Organization Will Collapse. The Yankees offered Pettitte 3/$39 after 2003. The Astros gave him 3/$31.5. He chose the Astros. We should’ve thrown in even more extra money just because?

              • Avi

                Yes. Paying Pettitte 3/$42M would not have been overpaying him nearly to the same level that people are suggesting the yanks should do with Jeter.
                Look at the money and performance the Yanks gave to the guys that replaced Pettitte (Brown, Vazquez)
                Also I think Pettitte would’ve been much more valuable to the team from ’04-’07 than Jeter will be over the next three years.
                I’m surprised you don’t hold something against Cashman for letting Andy go Miss Pettitte.

                • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

                  If only the Yankees had your crystal ball and could have known that Brown and Vazquez would be bad before ever signing them.

  • Avi

    If Cashman got half the blame he deserves I wouldn’t bring this up every time one of his awful decisions are brought up.
    The complete pass he gets in the media is mystifying.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Maybe it’s because no team has won more regular season games or more postseason games or World Series than Brian Cashman’s Yankees since he took over. Just a hunch.

      And please, use the reply button.

      • Avi

        Are you serious Ben? UNLIMITED resources. Come on!

        • theyankeewarrior

          Unlimited resources, sure. He was also handed a team full of aging superstars that were demanding tens of millions of dollars each in salary raises and were still performing at semi-high levels in a time where PED’s were rampant around the game.

          Do you realize how hard it is to transition a team from winning 4 of 5 (should have been 5 of 6) championships while trying to figure out which players should be granted contract extensions, which should be outcast, which steroid-infused FA’s to sign, and who to draft when your first pick is in the 2nd or 3rd round every season?

          Not easy. It’s not like they get to start at 0 dollars every season and build their way to 200+. They have a bunch of guys signed to huge deals that are aging, still play all-star caliber baseball, but at the same time have no clear successor – not in the system, not in free agency, not through a trade.

          Oh, and they’re expected to win every season. Without taking a break. Like, ever. So if you need another pitcher, and there’s a guy available on the market who demands an extra $10-20M, and you have it in the bank, you’re expected to hand it over because it will make you better in the short term.

          Example: AJ Burnett circa 2009. World Series Champion NYY.

          /end rant

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

          Unlimited resources, but pay Derek Jeter $5M/year!!!

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Please make a list of GM’s who don’t make awful mistakes.

      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        Ned Coletti.

        Sincerely,
        Bill Plaschke

        • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

          Scott Boras. I know he’s not a GM, but he should be. What a nice fellow.

          Sincerely,
          Jon Heyman

          • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

            Well played.

            • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

              Theo Epstein and anyone who worked for the Red Sox in 2004 (but not 2003).

              Sincerely,
              Peter Gammons

              • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

                I believe you meant

                Sincerely,
                the MSM

                • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

                  BUT THE MONEYBALLS

      • Avi

        If a move makes sense and doesn’t work out I wouldn’t criticize it. for example if the yanks sign Cliff Lee to a five year deal and he busts or is ineffective from the second year on, I’ll live with it.
        Even though nothing is a guarantee and their are some reasons for concern with Lee, the positives far outweigh the negatives. It’s the moves that put me in a bad mood the day they happen that drive me crazy. Stuff that makes no sense from day one.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

          Why was a Randy Johnson trade something that made no sense at the time? Yeah he was old, yeah he was probably due for at least some regression coming to the AL, but he was comically dominant (with a history of being dominant in the AL, it’s not like he’d never been there) and after what happened in the 2004 playoffs, there was a lot of screaming for lefty pitching. Also, though RJ was awful in 2006, he was pretty awesome in 2005. We likely don’t make the playoffs without him, especially considering how he did against Boston that year.

          • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

            You can throw Pavano in there too. He was coming off an all-star season in 2004 and the Yankees weren’t the only ones willing to give him big money. No one back then could have predicted that signing him to a 4/40 deal would go like it did.

            • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

              Kevin Brown had a 2.39 ERA, 3.30 K/BB ratio, and 1.14 WHIP the year before we got him.

              • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

                It’s almost like the Cashman and the Yankee FO aren’t that bad at evaluating pitchers, they just got unlucky like everyone else.

                • Avi

                  Here’s were the family member suspicions creep in.

                  • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

                    I wish.

                  • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

                    No here’s where everyone proves that the entire basis of your arguments is using hindsight, which unfortunately, the Yankees’ front office didn’t have the benefit of.

                    • Avi

                      NONE of it is hindsight. Anyone who knows me knows this. I have a very clear opinion on every move the Yankees make and hated everyone of those. Vazquez part one (’04) I hated cuz to me it was clear Schilling was the better option and it seemed the Yankees thought vice versa. I also didn’t like the fact they gave him a four year deal before he threw a pitch for them.
                      I have a question for you. If you didn’t despise the Burnett move or even liked it and also liked when the Yankees traded for Vazquez and signed Pavano etc, do you start to question your baseball prognosticating skills? Objectively you’d have to.

                    • Big Juan

                      Except we weren’t here being repeatedly force fed your opinions in 2004. So really, no one knows what you thought at the time.

  • Oneil’s Faggy Prostrate

    Fun to watch the next three years!

    • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

      You spelled both O’Neill and prostate wrong. Well done.