Writer Encouraging Free Agent Doom for the Yankees with A.J. Burnett
Look, the Yankees already do a good enough job screwing up their team via free agency without needing help from outsiders. Think Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright for starters. Last year, the front office listened to the writers who suggested they start rebuilding their farm system and stay away from signings that plagued them in the past. So what happened? They decided not to trade the likes of Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera to the Twins for Johan Santana and they missed the playoffs for the first time since Brian Cashman had hair. Now they’re going back to their old ways and will use that Johan money on CC (who’s a worse investment in my opinion). And they’re not going to stop there; they’re going for Burnett, Lowe, Teixeira, and Manny. Heck, their only constraint is a 25-man roster. Apparently they haven’t learned the lesson that spending isn’t the answer — spending wisely is. I don’t think A.J. Burnett is a good investment, but some media members do. Take venerable front office man George A. King III of the New York Post:
Burnett, 32 in January, went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA for the Blue Jays this past season before opting out of the final two seasons, leaving $24 million on the table.
Coming off a career-high in victories, the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder is easily the second-best pitcher on the free-agent market behind Sabathia, so $15 million to $16 million a season for four or five years isn’t out of the question.
OK, let’s examine a few things here: 32 in January — fact. 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA for the Blue Jays — fact. Opting out of the contract — fact. 6’5″ 230-pounder vital stats — fact. Easily the second-best pitcher on the free-agent market? Are you kidding me? Says who, you? What makes Burnett the second-best pitcher on the market? If anything, replace “easily” with “arguably” or “potentially” and I’m fine with it. Even still, I’d rather invest my money in Derek Lowe or Ben Sheets, thus making Burnett the fourth-best pitcher on the market. To me, this is the difference between spending and spending wisely. Dropping $80mil on Burnett isn’t a wise investment. But according to baseball scout and stat guru George King, it is. So now that gets everyone who reads the Post and follows the Yankees thinking this is a no-brainer. Let me ask this: in four years when the Yankees are in danger of missing the playoffs and people are bitching about the $18mil a year they’re paying Burnett, is King going to be there to say he was a great signing, or is he going to criticize the team for their free-spending ways? The Yankees need to be cautious not reckless. And the media sure isn’t helping the cause here.