Why an A.J. Burnett reunion actually makes sense

Report: Yankees sign Australian right-hander Brandon Stenhouse
Yankees land three on Keith Law's top 100 prospects list
Meeeeemories (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Meeeeemories (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Michael Pineda heads into spring training with a grand opportunity. After nearly two years of rehab following shoulder surgery, he again competes for a rotation spot. Perhaps no other player in camp means so much to the future of the organization.

If Pineda wins the spot, showing some semblance of the stuff that powered his 2011 rookie season, the Yankees will be better off not only in 2014, but maybe through 2017. Because they optioned Pineda to AAA last year, he remains under team control for four more full seasons.

When was the last time the Yankees had three pitchers age-27 or younger in the rotation?* Along with Pineda, Ivan Nova and Masahiro Tanaka help round out one of the youngest Opening Day rotations in recent memory. Barring trade or injury, all three could be in that Opening Day rotation through 2016, and two of them are set through 2017.

Well, Chien-Ming Wang was 28 in 2008 when the Yankees broke camp with a rotation including him, Phil Hughes, and Ian Kennedy. Darrell Rasner (27), and Joba Chamberlain did pitch at some point in the rotation that year. Also, in 2009 CC Sabathia was 28, while both Chamberlain and Hughes took turns in the rotation. It has only been a rarity in the most recent years.

There’s just one hitch in the scenario.

You can’t count on Michael Pineda at this point.

Every Yankees fan in the world should be rooting for him to succeed, for him to pitch his way onto the team and redeem himself after a two-year absence. But you know what they say about wishing in one hand. The Yankees need a decent contingency plan in case Pineda is not up to the task from the get go.

David Phelps and Adam Warren will also compete for the fifth starter spot, but they both might be better served in bullpen roles. Not only would they shore up a current area of weakness, but they’d perhaps be more valuables themselves as relievers than as starters. Both have pitched well out of the bullpen in the recent past.

This is why we undertake the unexciting task of examining long shot starters. Given the need in the bullpen, in addition to the need for a fifth starter, the Yankees can’t be content just with the pitchers they have now. They need a couple more guys to add a little depth — and fill out the AAA rotation.

Finally we get to the title character, A.J. Burnett. Yesterday we learned that he will not retire, and that he will not necessarily re-sign with the Pirates. He’s looking to test the market. Since he’d almost certainly sign a one-year contract, he could fit perfectly into the No. 5 spot.

Before anyone gets anxious, let’s acknowledge that this will never happen.

Unless Burnett feels he has something to prove, it’s almost impossible to see him entertaining an offer from NY (even if they were interested). He’s heard the boos. He had to sit around as the Yankees desperately shopped him around before the 2012 season. He apparently didn’t like that the Yankees always tried to tinker with his delivery. He’d almost certainly be better served elsewhere.

This story really isn’t about Burnett anyway. It’s about depth. Having three or four guys (counting Vidal Nuno) competing for the fifth starter spot sounds nice. They’re all relatively young guys, which makes it sound even nicer. But this team has needs in many spots right now. Once the season starts, they’ll have more needs. How long will it be before someone in the rotation misses a start or two? The sixth starter will be called on soon enough.

That doesn’t even cover the bullpen, which is basically David Robertson and Shawn Kelley right now. If Warren and Phelps are swingmen, who takes their places when they move to the rotation? What happens if one of them gets hurt? What if they get shelled early in the season?

The answer doesn’t have to be Burnett. He just happens to make for the best headline. Given the unlikelihood of a reunion, it probably won’t be him. But it could be Ubaldo Jimenez, who might take a three-year, $39 million contract. That’s risk-heavy, probably risk-heavier than Burnett on a one-year deal. More likely it will be someone a bit cheaper, as outlined in the minor league pitcher post.

The Yankees did the heavy lifting when they added Tanaka to their top four starters. Now it’s time to add a little depth. It’s not the most exciting part of the off-season. It might be even frustrating, since it sometimes involves thinking about a reunion with A.J. Burnett. But if the Yankees want to return to the playoffs in 2014, it’s a necessary and ultimately important phase of the off-season.

Report: Yankees sign Australian right-hander Brandon Stenhouse
Yankees land three on Keith Law's top 100 prospects list
  • Ed Lopat

    More of your specialty, pedantic onanism.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      What. The. Fuck

    • Larry Riley

      Like button. So it makes sense but will never happen? The headline reminds me of a NY Post front page. Inflaming the masses just because nothing better is happening on the free agency front.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        I know, I can’t believe a website that is all about Yankee news and opinions would post a thread that might get some conversation going during a slow news period.

        What a terrible crime against humanity.

        I hope you got your money back.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

          While I appreciate the defense, the “money back” line really doesn’t hold any weight. Free stuff can suck, and people can complain that they wasted their time on it.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Yeah I wish I’d left the money line out; the first paragraph stands though.

            • The Great Gonzo

              Jim is a (Regretful) Peckerhead

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                And Bored, too. As usual.

            • Steve

              No you don’t. You’ve trotted that line out time and again. You regret that you got called out on it

              • CS Yankee

                So what, the net is the same. If an article sucks, rip it up or offer something else to write about but childest digs don’t add any value.

                The headlines made it questionable but in reading it, I learned that Jimenez might be had for 3/39…which they should be on that like white on rice.

                • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?


              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                No, I thought about it before I posted.

                Thanks for the ESP though.

      • Miche DeGennaro

        Next article: “Why a Jason Giambi reunion actually makes sense”, where Joe proceeds to say it will never happen and point out the obvious need for a power bat off the bench.

    • The Great Gonzo

      I even went out to the Googles to find a better definition for this to hope I could find a clearer meaning for what you’re trying to imply…

      Best I could come up with still is you being a dick, while using $5 words. Good on you, buddy… Good on you.

    • OldYanksFan

      Wow… am I the only one who had to look up ‘Onanism’?

      1. withdrawal of the penis in sexual intercourse so that ejaculation takes place outside the vagina; coitus interruptus.
      2. masturbation.

      So… is Joe masturbating or just spilling his seed all over this site?

      • Tanuki Tanaka (Formerly Bob Buttons)

        A tad too graphic there bud. My best guess is Mr. Fancy Words wanted to call Joe a wanker while using a thesaurus on stuff.

        Something in the neighborhood of this.


  • Bats

    It’s a good suggestion. Burnett’s numbers the past couple of season reflect the kind of pitcher the Yankees were hoping to get when they signed him for the 2009 season. Perhaps, the pressure of being the team’s #2 starter effected him in some way along with his (supposed)non-relationship with Jorge Posada as his battery-mate. However, a second stint as a #5 starter along with “Mr. cERA” Brian McCann will produce much different results.

  • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

    If Jimenez is going to sign for 3/39…I’d want him.

    Never figured he’d sign for that little after the contracts that have been handed out this offseason.

    • The Great Gonzo

      Not buying it, A Boy Wonder Epstein overpay seems to be in order here. Don’t see how he resists.

  • AndrewYF

    On behalf of most Yankees fans, I’ll just leave this here:


  • Professor Longnose
    • The Great Gonzo

      Not only is that incredibly funny, and I completely forgot about that, it is an incredibly accurate description of the Miami franchise in a nutshell.

      • Capt

        Imagine if that would’ve hit the mascot? Perfect shot right at his knee

  • mitch

    I know AJ had a good two years in PIT, but I have little interest seeing him back in pinstripes. I don’t think it would work out well. I’d rather spend the money on Jimenez or Drew.

  • stuckey

    Leaving aside how ludicrous this is, it doesn’t even make sense within its own internal logic.

    The first 4 paragraphs about Pineda contradict the entire premise of the idea.

    You need a CONTINGENCY plan for Pineda. Burnett is NOT that. You don’t (and he wouldn’t) sign him without a reasonable guarantee of a rotation spot. And you don’t want him in your bullpen under any scenario.

    So what then IF Pineda IS all the things the Yankees want him to be in spring training? So we want the “player in camp means so much to the future of the organization” starting the season in AAA for “depth”?

    Sometimes you got to swim as opposed to guarding yourself against drowning all the time.

    Some fans LOVE the idea of young starting pitching, but seemingly hate giving rotation spots to young starting pitchers.

    Not everyone is going to come out the womb a Cy Young candidate.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

      The idea of the sixth starter is why this would work. If I get a break today, and some motivation, I’ll start looking at when the Yankees have first needed a sixth starter in recent seasons. I’m willing to bet it’s been before May 10th every year.

      • Dan

        But it’s the *sixth* starter. There’s no reason Phelps or Warren isn’t a great candidate to fill in.

      • stuckey

        Let me save you some time. Of course they’ll need a 6th starter. That isn’t in dispute. Probably a 7th and 8th too at some stage.

        But MLB rules STILL limit you to a 25 man roster and a 5 man rotation at ANY given time. So there is only so much ‘saving for a rainy’ day possible and reasonable.

        What you DON’T do is make contingency plans that leaves NO contingency for Pineda making the rotation out of spring training if the projected first 5 guys start the season healthy and he does too.

        Any “plan” that in the best-case scenario starts a healthy and performing Pineda to start the season in AAA and STAY there until someone gets hurt, and then is IN FLUX when the guy who got hurt gets healthy again, is just an overly-cautious plan.

        I don’t dispute the Yankees should be giving some thought and advance planning to those weeks when one of the projected 5 guys lands on the DL, but they ALSO have to plan for when the DO have 6 or 7 legitimate healthy starters, which will likely involve MORE of the season than not.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          MLB rules do not, anywhere, limit you to a 5 man rotation.

          • The Great Gonzo

            Is StuckeyLand anywhere near EddardWorld?

          • stuckey

            Effectively they do.

            No team is going to a 6 man rotation. It’s a IDEA that no is ever going to REALLY implement.

            Pragmatically having a “6th” starter is having a guy on your roster than can seamlessly move from long relief in the bullpen most of the time to spot starts once in a while.

            Which one of Pineda or Burnett would you like playing that role?

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

              No, they don’t, at all.

              Teams use 4 man rotations plenty. Teams use 6 men rotations when the need fits. Colorado experimented with a 6th starter.

              You said MLB Rules. You were wrong. A team will not be punished if they have a 3, 4, 5,6, or 7 man rotation.

              I made no point regarding Pineda or Burnett, although apparently you read something like that in my short sentence.

              • stuckey

                That’s fine, I was making a point but wasn’t specific enough.

                No, MLB has no rule requiring a 5 man rotation. 1 to 11, 12 man (or more) are permissable under at the discretion of each club.

                I totally concede the point.

                • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

                  I’ll notify the press.

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead
      • The Great Gonzo

        Let me add to this, if I may… You cannot deny that there are a metric shit-ton of question marks across the Yankees pitching staff. Not rotation, PITCHING STAFF:

        CC’s rough 2013,
        Kuroda’s fade down the stretch,
        Tanaka’s never throwing an MLB pitch,
        Nova’s consistent inconsistency,
        Phelps/Warren relative success having been nothing more than swingmen so far,
        Pineda’s health,
        Robertson’s first season as a closer,
        Thorton’s obvious LOOGYness,
        Nuno’s SOOOOOPER small sample size
        Dellin’s control issues

        I don’t need to go on… Doesn’t this alone just SCREAM of a situation where you want to build in as many contingencies as possible? AGAIN, it doesn’t HAVE TO BE A.J. Burnett, and if everything breaks 100% right this is a dumb conversation in hindsight… But it never breaks 100% right, you all know that.

        • stuckey

          Probably more often that not, the players signed break camp healthy and start the year on the roster. The breakdowns more often than not occur during the regular season.

          So, Pineda is healthy, and pitches lights out in spring, let’s imagine THAT contingency.

          Do yo want him starting the season in AAA, probably to accommodate a lesser pitcher in the ML rotation, yes or no.

          Someone name a CONTINGENCY plan in which he actually performs the way the Yankees want him to?

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Having 6 realistic options for our rotation is a fantastic, wonderful problem that I’d love to have.

            • stuckey

              Then exploring the scenario shouldn’t be a problem.

              Yankees sign AJ Burnett, he performs adaquately to terribly at spring training. Michael Pineda is healthy and dynamic in spring training.

              Not an unreasonable scenario. So let’s discuss this more specifically then acknowledging its a good problem to have.

              What do you do?

              • The Great Gonzo

                Make AJ the swingman.

                Give AJ the 7th inning (lord knows, he didn’t see much of the 7th inning in Yankee Stadium during his first stint).

                DFA him.

                Give him a phantom injury assignment.

                Any of these could fit.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                Keep Pineda in AAA, because he hasn’t proven anything recently, is recovering from an injury, and realistically wont be able to hit 200 innings this year anyway. Put Phelps/Warren in the pen, let AJ have the #5 rotation spot.

                Limit Pineda’s workload for a month or two, and see what happens at the MLB level. If he can’t break in by May/June, that means either we have a great rotation, or he hasn’t earned it anyway.

                • Mr. Roth

                  Exactly. There’s pretty much no chance that Pineda (regardless of how well he pitches) gives you anywhere near 30 starts or 200 innings. If Pineda is being used in the rotation, there will absolutely be a need for a 6th starter.

                  • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

                    If he has no chance of reaching 200 IP (something with which I agree) and he was performing the way presented, then I’d want his limited IP to happen in MLB where they have the most value.

                    • Mr. Roth

                      Me too. My point was that if Pineda is one of the Yankees starters, we will absolutely need a 6th starter because of his innings limits.

              • OldYanksFan

                Make Pineda your #6 and put him as the long man in the BP. He probably gets a number of 3,4 and 5 inning stints.

                He has been laid off long enough that this may be more appropriate than trying to get 180 IP out of him.

                And depending on the market (does a potential PS team want AJ?) and what the Yanks would pay for the luxury of a 1 year contract, I don’t think it’s totally out of the question that AJ would come back.

          • The Great Gonzo

            Except for 10 months ago when the Yankees went into the season with a DL salary higher than 1/3 of the league. Injuries and necessity for contingencies (especially for a team as aged as the Yankees) can happen at any point.

            A contingency plan where Burnett actually performs the way the Yankees want him to?

            He outperforms Nova this Spring and starts as the 4th/5th starter.

            He takes the swingman role coming out of camp, pushing Phelps & Warren to the pen, sorta like Colon did in 2011. Subsequently, he is starting games by May 1st because CC strains his ‘new look’ oblique.

            He does NOT suck in any role he is asked to play.

            Any of those count?

          • LK

            I want Pineda to succeed, I really do.

            But let’s be honest here. Are you really saying that they shouldn’t sign a pitcher because then we might not have room in the rotation for the guy who’s missed the last 2 seasons because of shoulder surgery?

            If Pineda is really ready to be lights out, there will be room; there’s no doubt in my mind about that. The issue is that the odds Pineda is ready to be lights out are quite long.

            • stuckey

              Fair enough.

              My point remains. The contingency plan for a 5th starter (which entertaining this scenario also is NOT Phelps, Warren or Nuno) should be for a pitcher that will not be locked into a rotation spot.

              It should be for a guy who can contribute in the bullpen if he is NOT one of the best 5 starters coming out of spring training.

              Simple. Makes sense, no?

              • LK

                I think what you’re saying makes sense overall. Given the way the pitching staff is currently structured, ideally any acquisition would be the type of guy who you don’t have to guarantee a rotation spot to. However, I think if a guy is available on a favorable contract (Jimenez at 3/39 I think would be nice, for example), you make the move and figure it out later. Even if they somehow had 6 starters who were all dealing at the end of spring training, they could probably find a trade and either fill another need on the team or re-stock the farm. More likely, no one good will actually be available at a discount, and in that case I think we agree they shouldn’t pursue another expensive starter.

            • The Great Gonzo

              To further your point, should Pineda come to camp as an absolute machine, and AJ Burnett (or SOMEONE…) is signed and comes in and outperforms…… Ivan Nova. Then isn’t he your sixth starter? Again, isn’t this a good problem to have?

              • stuckey

                I think sometimes you have to let starters sink or swim.

                If HEALTHY, give them a rotation spot and unless they blow up, give them the space to grow and figure out who they are.

                No, I do not support tying the string on Ivan Nova’s back and potentially pulling him back to the bullpen or AAA based on a couple of weeks in Tampa.

                I think sometimes of you see a roster of doing everything in your power to mitigate problems, rather than to embrace upside.

                Nova would have to BLOW up for me to want to see someone like AJ Burnett move ahead of him on the depth chart.

                And no, I’m not counting on him having a seamless year, it’s just sometimes time to take the training wheels off, even if it means some scraped knees.

                • The Great Gonzo

                  You may ‘No, I do not support tying the string on Ivan Nova’s back and potentially pulling him back to the bullpen or AAA based on a couple of weeks in Tampa.’

                  But you support that Pineda should be judged in that same timeframe, so much so that signing Burnett as a contingency shouldn’t happen?

                  Well, that and the MLB bylaw about having six starters on your 25-man roster, of course.

        • lightSABR

          Gonzo nailed it. There is so much uncertainty surrounding the pitching staff that signing another starter makes a world of sense.

          And if Pineda’s performance demands a place in the rotation? Give it to him. Because at that point, either somebody’s going to be injured, or Nova’s going to suck again, or the fifth starter you sign is going to suck, etc. I’m not saying that the team absolutely has to go out and sign another starter right now, but I am saying that if we don’t, there is going to be some point during the next season when we wish we had.

          • Mr. Roth

            This, this, and this.

    • CS Yankee

      Now this is how one can undress the article and add value.

      I agree that Pineda shouldn’t be second-fiddle to AJ, however he is likely to only throw 100-150 innings. I wouldn’t park him in AAA for AJ, but I would for Jimenez.

      having him start his year in May at SWB is very reasonable, then he can be of some use down the stretch versus reaching his limit in July or August.

  • Dan

    No fucking way. This has Javy Vazquez written all over it.

    If you want depth, make a depth signing that doesn’t make the fan base’s blood pressure rise. There are pitchers with decent upside still out there . . . how about Suk-min Yoo? It seems like he’d be a great addition to the 5th starter competition who would be a good bullpen arm if he misses out on it.

  • Now Batting

    Ubaldo at 3/$39 sounds like a steal.

    • Bavarian Yankee


    • I’m One

      Until he sucks in YSIII against strong AL East offenses. Then everyone will wonder why he was even considered.

      I honestly don’t know if he’ll be a steal at that price or if the Yankees will regret it. Personally, I’m not confident that his 2nd half performance last season is enough to warrant more than a 1 year deal. And I can’t believe someone won’t offer him multiple years.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        His underlying peripherals tell a different story. He really only had one terrible year, every other year of his career has been under a 4 fip.

      • Now Batting

        I’m not saying he’s a lock to be good but his ceiling is ace like. $13m a year for a pitcher like that is a complete steal. Hell the Yankees just paid AJ $12 mil to pitch for the Pirates.

        • I’m One

          Yeah, and I guess we should also be looking at the Yankees paying Tanaka 22M/year and he hasn’t thrown an MLB pitch yet. 3/$39M is probably a deal the should try to make.

          • LK

            Yeah, part of the issue is that salaries are escalating so quickly that it’s hard not to react as if every deal being signed is bad, which they basically all would’ve been 5 or so years ago.

            But at 3/39 you’d basically be paying him to be an average pitcher, and by the third year 13M might not even get you that anymore. Ubaldo could definitely be worse than average, so the deal still might not work out, but there’s a ton of upside in paying a healthy guy who’s had ace-like seasons and isn’t old to be average.

    • Luisergi

      If it is true, the Yankees should be all over him.

  • TWTR

    If Burnett was signed and pitched poorly, would he be kept in the rotation like Vazquez was on his failed return? If not, sign him. If yes, then pass.

  • yardisiak

    The reason this makes no sense is how the Yankees will handle the situation. They will give the spot to Burnett(or insert retread here) at the expense of youth(Pineda) and potential upside. They cannot be trusted to make decisions that have a long term payoff.

    • TWTR

      Pineda might be the exception. Cashman, Hal, and Levine NEED him to succeed, assuming it is still possible.

  • stuckey

    This scenario plays out every year. There is a sect of fans who want 5 PROVEN ML arms for the 5 rotation spots coming out of spring training (and of course, want #s 4 and 5 to be of #’s 3 and 4-type ‘quality’.

    Then on TOP of that, we want 1 or 2 ML ready pitchers but with minor league options, with MORE upside than the guys you have in spots 4 and 5 on your ML rotation, waiting in the wings.

    If Michael Pineda is one of your top 5 pitchers during spring training he should start the season in the rotation. Someone dream up a contingency plan allows that to happen if it breaks that way.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Why is it wrong to want that, but understand that it’s not a realistic possibility most years?

      • stuckey

        Not “wrong”, it just strikes me that the dialogue is more grounded in realistic possibility, rather that the collective entertaining of a fantasy.

        I suppose I’m just naturally pragmatic and find discussing thing more grounded in reality than fantasy and perhaps I misunderstand that you all realize it’s fantasy too.

        • TWTR

          I would have been fine with having a fire sale on veterans at the end of last season (led by trading Cano), re-stocking the farm, and then keeping all their picks (although I would have preferred a complete overhaul of most of the development and drafting personnel).

          But that’s not the way the Yankees do business.

          So wanting some proven options in the absence of highly rated young pitchers fits right in with their articulated business plan.

    • Luisergi

      So, you didn’t like that 03′ rotation?

      Clemens, Mussina, Pettite, Wells, Weaver, Contreras>>Sabathia, Tanaka, Kuroda, Nova, Phelps, Pineda.

      There is nothing wrong with “fans who want 5 PROVEN ML arms for the 5 rotation spots coming out of spring training (and of course, want #s 4 and 5 to be of #’s 3 and 4-type ‘quality’.” IMO.

      • stuckey

        Fair enough.

        So pitchers without ML experience break into the NY Yankees rotation how?

        Injury to one of the 5 proven guys, and they have to perform immediately?

        Can you rack up enough experience that way to be consider one of the 5 “proven” guys during any spring training?

        I’m really asking. When and how do the Yankees break in rookie starting pitchers?

        • Luisergi

          1- When they are lights out in the minors or top prospects, or both, see Hughes, Phil. Chamberlain, Joba. IPK.

          Or when there is just no other option, See Matt de Salvo, the guy who allowed four homers in a row by the red sox, etc.

          2- Preferably yes, but that’s not allways the case.

          3- Just the fact that some young pitcher got experience pitching while some guy got hurt is not enough most of the time, when that comes, and if you have other options, you have to take the performance of the young guy in consideration.

          • Mr. Roth

            “Or when there is just no other option, See Matt de Salvo, the guy who allowed four homers in a row by the red sox, etc.”

            I think Chase Wright is the guy you meant.

        • The Great Gonzo

          The last time the Yankees broke in rookie starting pitching in a ‘meaningful’ way, 2008 happened.

          The honest answer is, rookie starting pitching breaks in in New York the same way they do in every other club in baseball, and the way you and I get promotions at our jobs: wait for an opportunity to open up and outperform the shit out of your competition.

          My boss isn’t leaving a VP slot open for me just in case I am a knight in shining armor. I got to earn my slot in the next regime, and so should Pineda/Phelps/Warren/Nuno/Banuelos, Burnett or no Burnett.

          • stuckey

            “The honest answer is, rookie starting pitching breaks in in New York the same way they do in every other club in baseball, and the way you and I get promotions at our jobs: wait for an opportunity to open up and outperform the shit out of your competition.”

            This would be an excellent response… if it were even a little bit true.

            Many of today’s good starting pitchers broke in performing not so good. They’re good now because they were allowed to struggle at the ML level, and the reason they were allowed to is because their teams weren’t looking to swap them out for Replacement Level performance at veteran prices.

            If you believe ML starting pitchers all broke in by out performing and pushing out some veteran that was performing adequately himself, we simply have not been watching the same game.

            • The Great Gonzo

              Not a little bit true, huh…

              OK, while many of todays SPs broke in by being the next arm up, and got the opportunity to sink or swim (our own Ivan Nova, for example), the Jose Fernandez’s, Jon Lesters, David Price’s and Micheal Pineda’s of the world won their jobs outright. They beat out other pitchers looking for a job and got theirs.

              They were given the chance to ‘sink or swim’, but they weren’t handed jobs because their daddy’s were on the Board of Directors or some shit. They earned their job.

              The fact that you are implying that they should be given a greater opportunity to fail while this team is trying to compete for a ring tells me that we are, in fact, not watching the same game.

        • mitch

          Nova and Hughes are recent examples

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          Pineda will likely be on an innings limit anyways this year.
          Using him as the 6th man slowly stretching out in AAA to start the season isn’t the worst idea.
          There will be injuries. It’s likely he could still get at least 15-20ish MLB starts, giving a reasonable SS to see what he can do all while limiting his IP in his first full year back from major injury.

          That said, I really have no problem starting the year without another established starter, so long as they address the bullpen.

  • Yank4Life

    Hey Carl Pavano is also looking for another opportunity!

    • RetroRob

      Cash brings back AJ, Pavano and Vazquez, just to troll the fans.

      • The Great Gonzo

        Cashman Failed at trolling. Shoulda got Igawa back.

      • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

        Don’t forget. Jared Wright (sp??)

        • RetroRob

          I don’t think there was any great dislike (or like) for Wright. He came and he went. Pavano, Vazquez and AJ, however, bring out emotions among the fans. I forgot about Igawa as Gonzo mentioned above. He’s have to be part of hit all.

          And Ed Whitson, the most hated Yankee pitcher ever, will get to throw out the ceremonial opening pitch.

    • Chip Rodriguez

      Did he suffer an eye injury while looking for that opportunity?

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I’m not getting involved in any of the above discussions just out of sheer lack of time to contribute today. I’ll just say that, while I am very much an AJ Burnett fan, supported his signing, and even supported the player for probably far longer than any sane fan should have, I’m not clamoring for a reunion. While I appeciate the risk inherent in this rotation, I don’t share in this “AJ could net you an extra .8 wins as a fifth starter, and we need to chase every .8 wins we can get” mentality. I don’t have the faith in his being anything other than the combination of Good AJ, Bad AJ, and Older AJ that he is, and I don’t prefer that over letting an assortment of capable-but-not-great pitchers fight it out. If none of the contenders work out, and I doubt that’s the case, you can always re-enter the market mid-season and potentially fetch yourself a pitcher better than AJ Burnett.

    That being said, yes Farewell Mo, flags do fly forever, I have no clue what would have happened in 2009 without AJ, but I’m glad he was there for it. I was a fan of his before the signing, and I’m glad he found a bit of success in Pittsburgh post-Yankee-suckitude.

    Back to work.

    • RetroRob

      Considering the Yankees one flag since 2000, I would not undo any part of the 2009 team. AJ was a key member, glad he was here, but I’m not looking for a reunion either.

    • Farewell Mo

      I do believe that if you would have replaced AJ Burnett with a league average pitcher in 2009, the Yankees very likely would have still won the world series.

      His signing turned out to be a mistake in retrospect, 2009 WS and all.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I’m fine with you believing that. I enjoyed the first couple of years of his tenure and was always a fan before he came to the Yankees.

        I don’t think the signing, historically, necessarily holds up either.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues richard

    If Burnett EVEN THANKS about returning to Yankees someone should keep smashing pies in his face until he says uncle.

  • Dan

    . . . On Opposite Day

  • LarryM Fl

    I say “no to AJ.” He has shown an inability to keep it together and unravel when pitching for the NY Yankees especially in Yankee Stadium.

  • RetroRob

    Perhaps we’ll have a 4th 20-something pitcher in the Yankees rotation come 2015 with Manny Banuelos. He’ll need 2014 in AAA, but both Banuelos and Pineda might be ready for 2015. (I still don’t think the team should expect more than 100 MLB innings from Pineda this year, and he should start in in the minors. Warm weather location to start the year for both Pineda and Banuelos, and then up to AAA where innings and pitches can be more easily regulated.)

  • gbyanks

    im fine with more competition for the 5th starter spot. but i dont want guys on major league deals. I want pineda to have a real shot at the rotation i dont wanna sign someone to a major league deal and force him into the minors

  • Theonewhoknocks

    Ubaldo at that price would be a steal, and you could sign me up for that. but I have a feeling they’d pass on that and go after a 1 year pillow type like Baker or Johan.
    Which I’m also fine with. I have faith in our strong front 4, and I think Pineda/Phelps/Warren plus a 1 year FA can fill out that 5th spot well.
    We could use that same Ubaldo money to pursue some infield/bullpen help.

  • Nathan

    With other options out there, I would pass on AJ. If Jimenez/Santana come off the board and AJ were willing to sign a one year deal, why not. At this point, he’d be a #5 pitcher and not expected to be a #2 behind CC.

    Innings, that’s all he’d be asked to provide.

    I look at it this way: would I rather have Phil Hughes or AJ. We know both have a history of not being very good with the Yankees, but at least AJ turned it around and had some success recently. I know this screams Javier Vasquez but again, we’re talking about a #5 starter and a team with a unclear bullpen.

    • RetroRob

      I’m not sure as a fan I want to deal with the emotional turmoil AJ will bring if he’s not pitching well. Not from him, but everything around him!

      The reason to consider it, however, is the main advantage he’ll bring, beyond the obvious that he’s a pitcher, is he’ll only require a one year deal, unlike the other pitchers still out there.

      I don’t think it’s anything we’ll have to worry about. I don’t see AJ wanting to return. I can’t imagine he enjoyed the last two years in NY and since I can see him having other options, he’ll be pitching elsewhere.

  • Come on!

    Clearly RAB doesn’t drug test its writers.

    • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

      From the Biogenesis Skool of Journolism.

  • yardisiak


  • dee

    I know this is radical, but what about Burnett in the BP?

  • Get Phelps Up

    I must say, I’ve really missed the pies after walk-offs.

  • JRod

    It’s far preferable to let Warren, Phelps, Nuno and Pineda fight it out in ST, and run the winner of the battle out there for at least 4 or 5 ML starts to see what he’s got. Give the winner a chance to show he can be at least a league average #5. Show some confidence, rather than going backward, expecting failure and covering the downside with a Burnett type. It’s only a #5, after all. You hedge by stockpiling some scrap on MiLB contracts. Cashman said the heavy lifting is done, so it seems very unlikely they are going to sign Ubaldo either.

  • Chip Rodriguez

    Couldn’t they just get Bronson Arroyo for around the same tab or a bit more?
    I’d feel a lot more comfortable with him.

  • Coolerking101

    AJ was a walking catastrophe for the majority of his stay in Pinstripes. He was traded for the baseball equivalent of a sixer of Natty Light.

    His lack of success never had anything to do with a lack of stuff or decreased velocity. He was excellent before he was on the Yankees and then borderline excellent years after. This tells me his problems as a Yankees were off the field. Plenty of people can’t handle the pressure or the scrutiny of NY. Even more people get caught up in the nightlife (especially when they have millions of dollars to burn).

    Unless there was some specific event going on in his life while he was a Yankee that has since passed, I just don’t see how anyone in their right mind could bring him back to NY and expect a different outcome.

  • Evan3457


  • Bobby d

    Forget about Burnett he’s Javier Vasquez part two. If anyone thinks that the yankee pitching is adequate to be championship caliber they are wrong. Remember you usually need seven or eight starters to get through a season. After the top four the yanks are weak. Pineda pitched about forty innings last year before complaining of shoulder soreness. The chances of him being a good starting pitcher are slim. Phelps is basically another Hughes. Warren would be a huge question mark as a starter. Nuno looked great in limited action before he got hurt. We need another starter! Jimenez would be a big improvement over what they now have!

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I’ll ask the same question I seemingly ask someone every off-season: What do you think a fifth, sixth, and seventh starter look like, Warren Spahn?

    • qwerty

      What’s wrong with Javier Vazquez, Cashman was looking into bringing him back just last year. He’s just that good!

  • Kenny F

    No. Let’s just not go there.

  • qwerty

    If the yankees have to rely on A.J.Burnett and Michael Pineda as our saviors then this organization is doomed. Even the fact that they are putting so much reliance on Tanaka, a prospect, to lead their rotation speaks to the incompetence of management.

    • Winter

      The fans are the ones expecting Tanaka to lead the rotation, not the management. Tanaka’s number three behind CC and Kuroda.

  • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?


  • Another guy named Mike

    Burnett succeeded with the Bucs because he doesn’t have the Post breathing down his neck – He’s a decent pitcher at this point in his career *UNDER THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES* which will never be in the Bronx. Honestly, I don’t think he would succeed in Flushing either. He truly has Ed Whitson’s Disease and many pitchers do (also see Black Jack McDowell, Jim Abbott, Terry Mulholland, Melido Perez, Kenny Rogers, to some extent Randy Johnson)