Link Dump: Burnett & Arbitration Cases


It’s a gorgeous Monday afternoon in New York, beautiful blue sky with a light breeze … they should dome the Tri-State Area with weather like this. Anyway, if you’re stuck spending your lunch break inside, here’s a pair of links to help pass the time…

A.J. Burnett, Reliever?

Joe wrote a post about why the Yankees should stick A.J. Burnett in the bullpen earlier this month, and Lucas Apostoleris added to the argument today at FanGraphs. The graph above shows that Burnett’s fastball velocity drops a good two miles an hour during the course of a typical start, peaking right around 94 mph through his first 30 pitches. Unsurprisingly, his strikeout rate dips later in the game and he gets hit harder. Joe Girardi said yesterday that they’re going to get back to a five-man rotation after the upcoming Red Sox series, and right now A.J. is clearly the odd man out. Given the info presented in Joe’s and Lucas’ posts, it would be interesting to see what the right-hander could do in one-inning relief bursts.

Previewing The Yankees’ Arbitration Cases

The Yankees had three relatively simple arbitration cases last year, settling on one-year contracts with Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Boone Logan before hearings even had to be scheduled. It won’t be that easy this year though, the Yankees have six players up for arbitration as Tim Dierkes’ shows in his Arbitration Eligibles series at MLBTR.

None of the six players – the three guys above plus David Robertson, Brett Gardner, and Russell Martin – are non-tender candidates, and all together they could end up costing the Yankees around $18M or so. Most of that is Martin (figure $6M or so), who’s going through arbitration for the fourth time as a Super Two. Gardner will probably get something close to the $2.4M that Michael Bourn got his first time through arbitration last year, and the relievers will be lucky to top $2M each. I really have no idea what Hughes is looking at, but Tim suggests $3.4M or so. Hooray for cheap talent.

Categories : Links


  1. Craig says:

    Watch Burnett turn into this era’s John Smoltz

    • Tyrone Sharpton says:

      How about making Burnett a closer and converting Mo to a starting pitcher? Mo’s strong enough to withstand the innings, and Burnett probably will light up the bullpen, just like Craig is saying. It’s a win-win

  2. Billy Pilgrim says:

    I think if Phil throws up another rotten egg on Wednesday that AJ will have one last shot on Thursday to stay in the rotation. Phil would then be sent to the pen. Phil’s gotta pitch well. No 90 mph belt high meatballs or the Sox will put up 10 runs.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I think you’re right that it will depend on both of their next performances. I’m hoping for Hughes to pull through, though, because I’m not sure his stuff will necessarily “play-up” in the pen. People cite him doing well in the pen a couple of years ago, but I’m just not sure he’ll miss any more bats in short bursts with his current stuff. He is a different pitcher right now. I don’t see him gaining 3-5 MPH or sharper off-speed stuff in shorter bursts.

      Burnett might be able to come in for short bursts and air it out without getting tired, making some guys miss and being more effective on a per inning basis in relief than starting. Who knows, though…

      • Billy Pilgrim says:

        I agree, I’m pulling for Phil. Right now Phil is ahead so if puts up a good performance he’s gonna stay in no matter what AJ does. I don’t think either would be used much in the pen so it would basically be a banishment. We’ve already got Wade, Soriano, Drob, and Mo who would be ahead of either right hander.

        • Smallz says:

          Its an extremely small dose, but the way Hughes looked in that relief appearence (and loss) against the Sox earlier in the year. That mentality is gone. He was not hitting anywhere close to 96 or even close to overpowering guys. Hughes needs good fastball location, solid velocity and real good offspeed stuff to be an exciting pitcher to watch. Even if this year has been a step back for Hughes, hes still young and I am confident he’ll get his shit together this offseason and come prepared for spring training next year.

          • Smallz says:

            I should of said to be effective. I combined thoughts. When Hughes is effective, under those guidelines hes an exciting pitcher to watch.

          • CP says:

            That was an odd appearance though. He started throwing he regular bullpen session (to prepare for his next start) with Mo pitching the 9th. Then he stopped when the tying run got on. Then he got back up to warm up as a reliever to come in for the 10th inning.

            I don’t think it’s representative of how he’d pitch in the bullpen.

            That being said, I’d pick Hughes as a starter well before AJ.

          • the Other Steve S. says:

            Hughes has a potential long-term future with the team. We need him to succeed. AJ is gone when the contract is up. Make him a batboy.

  3. Monteroisdinero says:

    Burnett to the bullpen-yes.

    Burnett as closer-no.

    • Tyrone Sharpton says:

      Wild Thing, part II? I could care less about what the stats tell us, you gotta look at the player’s heart. I use the WTH stat (what’s in their heart). Burnett has a very high value.

      • MannyGeee says:

        Not quite as definitively measurable as Peter Gammons “wGRIT”, butr I like the ‘WTH’ statistical significance, in certain situations…

        For Example, when the measured Colon’s ‘WTH’, it was through the roof. Upon further review, they found what was in his heart was mostly gravy and cholesterolic plaque…

        jus sayin

  4. theyankeewarrior says:

    Burnett could/should be entering games in situations like Noesi last night to see what he can do in short stints.

  5. Smallz says:

    I am sorry, I dont agree at all with Burnett to the pen. He could be the worst situational pitcher, I’ve seen in my life. He needs to get the ball done for a ground ball, he leaves it up. He needs to get the ball up so he can induce a fly ball, he leaves it down or in the middle of the plate. He needs to paint the corner, he throws a meatball. Burnett would honestly make me shit a brickhouse coming out of the bullpen in a close game, god forbid in the playoffs.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      It’s either you can control when Burnett fucks up or you let him start and likely put the game out of reach. No one in their right mind would put Burnett in high leverage situation.

      • Smallz says:

        Thats true. Even like a 3 or 4 run game I wouldnt feel confident about AJ Burnett coming out of the bullpen. He finds ways to suck, its amazing.

  6. Smallz says:

    I am sorry, I dont agree at all with Burnett to the pen. He could be the worst situational pitcher, I’ve seen in my life. He needs to get the ball down for a ground ball, he leaves it up. He needs to get the ball up so he can induce a fly ball, he leaves it down or in the middle of the plate. He needs to paint the corner, he throws a meatball. Burnett would honestly make me shit a brickhouse coming out of the bullpen in a close game, god forbid in the playoffs.

    • Monteroisdinero says:

      This is why I said to the pen but not to a closer role. Pick your poison.

      • Smallz says:

        I got ya, I mean yea. He could totally take over Noesi’s role. Late inning mop up guy. I could probably take over that role (not really) but hes making 16 million dollars. If anyone can eat this money its the Yankees. Hopefully by the trade deadline next year, we can find an NL team like the Cardinals to take him off our hands and well absorb most of the salary. Its the only way, this guy is completley ineffective and has to go. Asap.

    • Frigidevil says:

      He can take Noesi’s place as mop up man, seeing how Hector is actually pretty good.

  7. James says:

    I don’t know about this…

    His “Electric Stuff” is tempting in the bullpen, but this guy crumbles with runners on base. And if you can’t be trusted with runners on, you’re a pretty limited reliever–you can’t use that “stuff” in the most important situations. His OPS jumps almost 100 points with runners on. Plus, we’ve all seen what happens when a runner reaches third on him.

    But it’s worth a shot, I guess, as long he’s not used in anything resembling high leverage. And then at that point–he’s kind of the 25th (or 23rd, 24th) man on the roster, isn’t he?

  8. Rey22 says:

    Between the walks and the wild pitches, I’m not sure Burnett would work out in the bullpen either.

  9. UncleArgyle says:

    You can’t put AJ Burnett in the bullpen because…wait for it….wait for it….HE CAN”T THROW STRIKES!!!!

    • CP says:

      Neither can Robertson, and he’s worked out ok.

      • UncleArgyle says:

        There’s ‘can’t throw strikes’ and then there‚Äôs CAN’T THROW STRIKES. If your implying that AJ Burnett could do what Dave Robertson has done in the bullpen, I’m afraid you may be having a severe psychotic break. Put down the sharp object and call for help immediately. You life and the life of others are at danger.

        • The Fallen Phoenix says:

          A.J. lacks control and command. Robertson’s command can get away from him, but he at least consistently demonstrates the former.

        • CP says:

          AJ walks a lower percentage of batters, throws more pitches in the strike zone and more strikes overall.

  10. bonestock94 says:

    He may have more velocity early on, but it’s not like he hasn’t been getting lit up in the first few innings.

  11. Jedile says:

    I have a brilliant idea.

    A.J. Burnett is the 8th Inning Man. But just wait this is where it gets better. You see we already have a very fine 8th inning pitcher in David Robertson, but you know when he really shines is with the bases loaded. For instance, last night he struck out 3 people with the bases loaded, allowing no runs! This guy lives for the pressure, and has since been dubbed Houdini. So why can’t Burnett be the other 8th inning man who walks/hbp/allows a single to the 3 batters he will face, thus loading the bases for David Robertson. AJ will be the designated walker, so we don’t have someone else ruining their beautiful K/B + BB/9. And then furthermore padding drob’s K/9 ratio. I think this plan is foolproof!

  12. Mr. Wallace says:


  13. Mr. Wallace says:


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