Link Dump: Burnett, Best Tools, Romine, Arodys

Burnett to the bullpen, for the right reasons
The Jays and Stealing Signs

Lunchtime linkage for those of you that prefer a later meal, like myself…

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The Jorge Posada Hypocrisy

I swear, I wrote the first half of his great Jack Curry article on the train this morning. I mean, granted it wasn’t word for word, the premise was the same: the Yankees are coming off as extremely hypocritical for taking Jorge Posada out of the lineup because it’s best for the team while continuing to give A.J. Burnett starts every five days (or every six days, really). Jack’s a far better writer than I am, so go read his article to get the gist of what I was trying to say.

American League Best Tools

Every year, Baseball America surveys managers, coaches, and scouts about the best tools in both the American League and National League (no subs. req’d). I usually find these pieces interesting, but this year’s effort is a bit … wonky. Those surveyed voted Brett Gardner as the best bunter in the AL, which is most certainly not the case. He’s gotten a lot better recently, a lot better, but I’m not convinced that he’s even the best bunter on the team.

Derek Jeter was dubbed the best hit-and-run artist, while Gardner took home fastest baserunner honors but was named just the third best overall baserunner (behind Jacoby Ellsbury and Elvis Andrus). CC Sabathia the was voted the third best pitcher (behind Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver) and as having the second best slider (Felix Hernandez). Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano were named the best defensive players at their position, and Alex Rodriguez was third at the hot corner (Adrian Beltre and Evan Longoria). And finally Mariano Rivera was named the top reliever, just ahead of … Kyle Farnsworth. Yep.

Austin Romine‘s Achy Back

Double-A Trenton backstop Austin Romine was placed on the disabled list a few days ago with a back strain, something that required an MRI but apparently isn’t serious enough to end his season. The club is hopeful he’ll be back by next week. How did he injure his back? As Mike Ashmore explains, it was just a case of minor league life…

“My back was tight after the long bus ride after the 7 o’clock game in Akron,” Romine said.

“We had to drive and get back really early in the morning, and I fell asleep with my legs up in a bad position.  I got up and my back was a little sore, and I thought it was just regular soreness.  I usually have soreness at this time of the year.  I played through it and woke up in the morning with a little pinch in my back, so I let them know.  It stayed sore for a little while, so they thought that sitting on the bus for four hours and going to Altoona would probably be a bad thing with the back thing going, so I stayed back and got treatment done.”

Romine said his back is “really good” right now but they’re just being cautious. You’d think he’d have the whole sleeping on a bus thing down after three plus years in the bush leagues. Of course, it could just be a cover story.

The Circle of Reliever Life

In case you haven’t heard, the Braves have released Scott Proctor today and replaced him on the roster with Arodys Vizcaino. It’s one former Yankees reliever for a former Yankees prospect, one pitcher they overworked for another they never had the chance to overwork. Arodys’ call-up is similar to Joba Chamberlain‘s in 2007; he’s been starting in the minors but they moved him to the bullpen to maximize his innings limit on the year. The only difference is that Atlanta doesn’t need Vizcaino right now, at least not like the Yankees needed Joba. The second (really third) Javy Vazquez trade didn’t work out for the Yankees, at all, but that’s life. Look ahead, not back.

Burnett to the bullpen, for the right reasons
The Jays and Stealing Signs
  • Gonzo

    I am not positive, but weren’t the Sox lauded for signing Jenks and the Rays booed for signing Krazy Kyle?

    • Mike Myers

      20/20 my friend. Last years great moves also inclueded signing Adam Dunn, Jason Werth (even though they would help “refresh” the franchise) A few yankee RP, all the moves the astros made, Carl Crawford, Manny…etc. And Bartolo was a terrible idea.

      • Gonzo

        I think someone at Fangraphs pointed out that this was a different Kyle this offseason. His use of a new pitch made him a better pitcher, but everyone still thought he was the same old pitcher.

        • Guns of the Navarone

          Yeah, FanGraphs was the only site (I saw) that basically compared Jenks to Farnsworth and pointed out that they were similar relievers and that the Sox overpaid for Jenks.

  • Crime Dog

    Jack Curry’s been excellent since he joined YES. This article is just another example of that

    • Avi

      Yep, I think he’s the next Buster Olney. Good to have him.

      • Gonzo

        Could @TrippingCurry be far off?

        • Avi

          I always assumed that was Tim Kurkjian.

  • HyShai

    Ken S. said on the broadcast last night “Gardner is a very good bunter.” That was before he bunted at a pitch at his eyes.

  • MannyGeee


    Arodys Vizcaino is getting the call!! we shoulda never traded him! F YOU JAVY!


    • Avi

      Overreaction would be signing Scott Proctor

    • Zach

      It’s worth noting that the comp pick for Javy turned into Dante.

  • Howie

    Mike, disagree a bit on this one. If we were looking at these players as investments for 2011 only – then i agree. But the Yanks have a two additional years invested in Burnett. They take him out now – with his mental state we could be looking at sunk cost the next two years. Posada they can worry a bit less since there is no chance of poisoning the clubhouse next year as well. Apologies if this is covered in Jack’s article – haven’t been able to get to it.

  • chaz

    Great column by Curry. But remeber the move to bench Posada was not hinted at by Girardi before it happened. Despite what Girardi said last night, I’m not sold that AJ will be starting in KC next week. Could be someone is going to come up with an “injury” here the next few days.

    • Neil

      Doesn’t it make you wonder that on the two occasions Girardi made big decisions re: Posada he did it when they were playing the Red Sox so it got maximum exposure. Maximum embarrassment for Posada.

    • MannyGeee

      hell if theres ANYWHERE to give AJ a reclaimation start, its gotta be KC. the FO knows that.

      I would not expect him to go anywhere yet, right wrong or indifferent.

  • Avi
  • nathan

    What exactly does Arodys need to do in the majors to make this trade look even worse.

    Javy trade killed Joba and Arodys at the same time.

    • Gonzo

      Break Johnny Vander Meer’s record…in the playoffs…with the final game being game 7…against the Yankees.

      • MannyGeee

        and then you see him in the post game interview, kissing his new fiance…

        Kate Hudson.


    • Zach

      It’s worth noting that the comp pick for Javy turned into Dante.

      • IRF

        Which won’t mean anything for at least 3 years or so

        • radnom

          If ever. He basically still has the same value as that pick at the moment. I would put zero stock in any performance (positive or negative) so far.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Yep killed Joba being in the rotation and lost an arm like Arodys. Javy the gift that keeps on giving.

  • Jesse

    I was thinking the same thing in regards to the Yankees being hypocritical in the Jorge Posada ordeal. If Burnett continues to pitch like this through the rest of the regular season and if everyone else pitches well I can guarantee that he’ll be off the postseason roster. And by the way, as we all know, A.J Burnett has yet to win an August start with the Yankees. So come September, don’t be surprised if Burnett is at best 8-9 and don’t be surprised if he ERA will be higher than 4.60. He’s also yet to get a quality start since June 30th, which is almost an eternity for him.

  • A.D.

    With the AJ vs Posada debate, I think it comes down to the Yankees clearly have a better option of players that will hit more than Posada.

    With Burnett it basically comes down to Hughes could be better then what Burnett has been this season, but the reality is everyone is excited off of one good Hughes start against the White Sox when his body of work this season has been worse than Burnett

  • Ed

    Burnett – 1.2 bWAR / 1.0 fWAR
    Posada – -1.1 bWAR / -0.7 fWAR

    There’s no hypocrisy. Burnett has positive value on the season, Posada has negative value.

    Yeah, Burnett has sucked lately, but the team gave Posada months of sucking to prove he was done before making a move.

    I think they don’t consider doing something with Burnett unless Hughes and Nova both pitch well for their next few turns through the rotation.

    • Jesse

      I dont think the Yankees give a damn about bWAR and fWAR. They care that he’s on pace to give up more than 30 homers this year, and that he can’t win games and can’t hold a lead of any kind.

      • Mike K

        They may not give a damn about those stats, but the stats they use would surely say the same thing. Posada is a 37 year old on the final year of his contract and actively costing the Yankees. Burnett is a 34 year old with 2 years after this, who for the year has been a little below average. There’s no hypocrisy here…

      • Rich in NJ

        They’re fairly sabermetrically inclined, although they have their own metrics, but it’s hard to deny that contract duration is the primary issue in their disparate treatment.

      • Jim S

        You don’t need to use the end result of bWAR and fWAR. They’re all made up of component stats and comparisons anyway.

        And just common sense tells us that Posada has been dreadful in comparison to his peers(DH), and AJ has merely been bad compared to other SPs.

        But I have a feeling that nothing anyone says is going to bring you down off of the AJ cliff.

      • Jim S

        And as A.D said above, we had replacements for Posada who were extremely likely to outperform him. Right now, it’s unclear whether Hughes is an upgrade or not, and until we find out based on a larger sampling of starts, AJ is going to keep getting a turn in the rotation.

  • IRF

    My guess is the managers and coaches screwed up those rankings. Jared Weaver has the best control? Adam Jones is the second best OF? Yikes.

    • ChrisS

      Cano’s ranking certainly doesn’t show up in his defensive WAR, while Skippy McGritty’s worth like 4 games on his defense alone. MVP.

  • CMP

    Curry is 100% right but he should be calling out Cashman too since the decision to bury Burnett on the bench would likely could not be a unilateral decison by Girardi.

    I’d love for someone to ask Brian “I cannot tell a lie” Cashman why exactly Burnett is still in the rotation.

    • Rich in NJ

      With that much (dead) money at stake, the decision may even have to be signed-off on by ownership.

  • Neil

    Is this best tools vote computed the same way as the Gold Glove voting that gave Palmeiro the award for about 20 games at 1B? How many times have the Yankees actually hit and run with Jeter in the last two seasons? Ten, maybe. I like Gardner but at best he gets a B- for his bunting.

  • Bronx Byte

    A.J. Burnett rhp
    5 years/$82.5M (2009-13)

    5 years/$82.5M (2009-13)
    signed by NY Yankees as a free agent 12/12/08
    09-13:$16.5M annually
    limited no-trade clause (Burnett may block deals to 10 clubs each year)

    • MannyGeee

      LOL and that 16.5M for the next two years blocks deals to the other 19 teams, as well as Mexican and NPB teams…

  • Max

    I’m sure someone else beat me to it, but Burnett does NOT equal Posada.

    xFIP 3.94
    WAR 1.0

    WAR -0.7

    Also, bats in the Yankees’ org are much easier to come by than arms. Posada is more easily replaceable.

    • Tim

      Thank you for getting to this. Curry’s article couldn’t be more flawed in comparing Burnett to Posada. With the exception of about 3 weeks in July, Posada has been an absolute abomination at the plate. With the exception of three starts, Burnett has pitched to a 3.79 ERA this season. That’s right – three starts. As in the only three starts this year when he has allowed more than 4 earned runs. On this team, with this offense, that should be enough to win far more than the 8 games he’s won so far. If Burnett were 14-6 instead of 8-9, would we even be having this silly discussion? We talk a lot here about how pitcher wins aren’t indicative of anything, but you bet no one would be calling for his head right now if he were 14-6, which he certainly could be, with a little run support.

      In fact, with a little run support, AJ 2011 could be Phil Hughes 2010.

      • Kosmo

        Burnett averages about 6 innings per start.From June 1st on his ERA has incremently risen from about 3.90 to 4.60. He´s not had what is considered a QS since June 29th. He´s not been able to pitch out of the 6th inning in 10 starts. He leads the AL in BB and WP. NY is 11-13 in his starts for good reason . A pitcher making the kind of dough Burnett is, should once in a while pitch a lights out game .Win a few 3-2 games . He´s just not that good a pitcher.
        Yanks score plenty of runs for Burnett .He fails to hold leads and fails to pitch deep into ballgames.

  • Kosmo

    Yanks can unload Burnett during the off season if they eat 20 million of his then remaining 33 million. An NL team might take him for 6.5 over 2 years.
    Remember NY pissed away 40 million for Igawa. Zero takers.

    • Kosmo

      I should say 6.5 per over 2 years. Entschuldigung !

    •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      Apparently someone was interested in Igawa (the Padres I believe?), even to the point that Cashman had a deal in place before being told not to deal him.

      Eating 20 mil wouldn’t be worth it, unless it miraculously nets a nice prospect.

      • Kosmo

        Why wouldn´t it be worth it ? AJ is taking up a roster spot .Does NY have to wait for a mediocre Burnett to play out the remaining 2 years of his contract ? In what capacity ? I don´t think so . They´ll do everything humanly possible to move him.

  • Mister D

    Curry’s first instinct isn’t a bad one, but it falls apart on examination.

    First, Jorge has sucked much longer this season than Burnett. The Yankees gave Jorge every chance under the sun to right himself, and the move to the bench now feels anything but decisive. Most fans (and I imagine Curry) threw their hands up and said “about damn time!” This was not a leadership move, but a case of their hand being forced by Jorge himself. Even so, they could only do it because Chavez was back and hitting, Nunez has performed ably, Jones has been decent in the platoon, and there is a major pressure coming from Wilkes-Barre.

    AJ? Actually pitched decently for much of the season, though he was clearly outpitched by CC, Colon and Garcia. Nova has been outpitching him of late, but are we really going to dump AJ because he had a few bad starts and Hughes has had a grand total of ONE decent start? Of couse not. Now, if Hughes tosses a few more of those, and the rest of the starters keep doing what they have been, then booting AJ to the pen makes sense. But right now, Hughes is not a viable alternative, and I wouldn’t say Noesi or Warren are ready to force their way past both Burnett and Hughes.