A.J. Burnett to the Yankees

For five years and 82.5 million. That’s 16.5 million annually, or paying for 3.3 WAR (on a 4.84 mil/WAR scale). Eric covered the Yankees potential super-rotation yesterday, and it appears the Yankees dreams (and everyone else’s nightmare) is becoming a reality.

Kudos to Dave for nailing the years/money here, A.J. Burnett is a 3 WAR starter, and he’s being paid as one. This is a buyers market, and the Yankees are absolutely thriving in it. A lot can be said for spending money and a lot more should be said for Brian Cashman and the Yankees paying these free agents exactly what they’re worth. Of course, the Yankees are one of the few teams who can pay what they’re worth, but that might be a market inefficiency within itself.

What does this mean for the other American League East teams? Well, it pressures the Red Sox into signing Mark Teixeira, and the Rays to get a designated hitter. If we assume the Yankees can work out the kinks with Milwaukee and trade for Mike Cameron and place him in center, their lineup looks something like this:

CA Jorge Posada
1B Nick Swisher
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
SS Derek Jeter
LF Johnny Damon
CF Mike Cameron
RF Xavier Nady
DH Hideki Matsui

Marcels projects those nine players to be worth 82.2 offensive runs and seemingly decent defensively. If Cano and Swisher bounce back and the lineup stays relatively healthy, you’re looking at a good lineup, and if they splurge for Teixeira or Manny Ramirez (as a DH) things get really hectic for opposing pitchers. There’s still talk of Andy Pettitte returning, and if not him, possibly another starting pitcher, and that would indicate the Yankees still possess quite a bit of expendable cash.



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Matt
Guest
Matt
7 years 9 months ago

Does WAR factor in his ’10 cent head’ and extreme injury risk? I am sorry, but I can’t rely on any metric that says AJ Burnett is worth 16.5 million, without laughing.

He had a HOT streak to end the season, he was mid 4.00s and upper 1.30 WHIP most of the season….. Yanks will live to regret this one….

Matt
Guest
Matt
7 years 9 months ago

Also, the Jays had one of the most efficient defense’s in the AL, if not the majors.

dan
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Sorry to break it you Matt, but when A.J. Burnett is healthy, he is really good. His FIP was 3.45 last season.

RJ–

“Marcels projects those nine players to be worth 82.2 offensive runs…” Above average?

Gleb
Guest
Gleb
7 years 9 months ago

He makes a very formidable #3 Pitcher.
If Cashman & Steinbrenner bro’s were really out to form a 1-5 comprised of amazing pitchers they should sign Sheets and be a tad over 200 mil. Can you guys imagine a rotation EVER being better than
C.C
Wang
Burnett
Sheets
Joba?_?

Godly.

Matt
Guest
Matt
7 years 9 months ago

Use all the metrics you want. You can’t measure heart. AJ will ‘tweak’ his elbow and be scared to pitch for 1-2 months and drive his GM/fans crazy and get called out for pitching ‘scared’. The guy has a couple good months and gets treated like god? He got this contract because like every year, it doesn’t matter how good you are, its how good you are compared to everybody else on the market…

What would Roy Halladay be worth? Considering his attitude, mentality and heart. Let alone his FIP, K/BB, HR/9, GB%….

You probably all loved Pavano’s metrics too?

Mark my words, the Yankees will surely regret a 5 year investment in this million dollar arm, 10 cent head…

How were his stats in 07? Right…

Aaron B.
Guest
Aaron B.
7 years 9 months ago

“You can’t measure heart.”

Nor should we Matt. Like Tom Tango and MGL pointed out in their mailbag earlier this month, who cares if a guy does always play with “heart”? Production is production. In fact, if Burnett ever gets the cojones you claim he lacks (which I doubt), then he’ll be an even better pitcher than projected.

My only concerns with this deal are regarding Burnett’s health. Then again, I don’t have a medical team at my disposal like the Yankees do.

Matt
Guest
Matt
7 years 9 months ago

He didn’t pitch hurt, ever. He pitched scared, JP Ricciardi made this claim and AJ agreed. He had 165 IP and 130 IP the past two years before his ‘opt’ out season. What’s the over/under on starts made during the 5 years? I think Vegas had it out at 100… I’ll take the under…

Lets take a look at his month by month… During the months the Jays were presumably in the race, he was average…

April – 29.2 IP, 6.07 ERA, 1.75WHIP. 15BB-19K…
May – 39.1, 3.43, 1.27, 16-46….
June – 37.1, 5.06, 1.47, 22-43….
July – 39.2, 3.86, 1.34, 11-41….
August – 40.2, 4.43, 1.23, 10-44..
September – 34.2, 1.82, 1.07, 12-38…

Pre All-star – 127, 4.96, 1.46, 57-126… 4 BB/9…

What a great start and such a consistent performer…

His 16+ million/season puts him in pretty exclusive company, and I for one, do not think he belongs in that company…

Pro Player and the Rogers Centre have played pitcher friendly and neutral respectively.

Career ERA+ 111, most comparable Pete Harnisch and Juan Guzman.

As for the career FIP, Burnett has that with only 1376 IP, Halladay with a robust 1800+ IP and Sabathia even has more with nearly 1700… Sabathia is 28, Halladay 31, Burnett soon to be 32…

I love this site and follow the stats with vigour and trust them, but sometimes you just have to disagree!

RollingWave
Guest
RollingWave
7 years 9 months ago

He’s not Carl Pavano. that much is obvious.

However, for some reason I find that projection highly opptimistic. this signing truely scares me.

Darren
Guest
Darren
7 years 9 months ago

You guys use WAR a lot in this blog–why is it not calculated somewhere on Fangraphs? Seems like a simple enough stat. Or have I missed it?

Mike
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

And this is why AJ Burnett will never be a True Yankee™. By June, Captain Jeter will be sobbing into his championship rings as he watches Choke-Rod drop line drive after line drive hit off of Sir Sidney after Burnett goes off to find the Wizard to get some courage.

Aaron B.
Guest
Aaron B.
7 years 9 months ago
Stephen
Guest
Stephen
7 years 9 months ago

Mike- Was that a real comment or a joke? I don’t think Sidney Ponson will be allowed to put a Yankees jersey on this season.

Darren
Guest
Darren
7 years 9 months ago

Maybe I wasn’t clear. I was asking if you had WAR calculated for players in the way you have WOBA, etc.

Mike Ketchen
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

I think the Burnett siging will be ok early on. But why is no one bringing up the age? He relys heavily on his gas and he will be 36 and 37 in the last two seasons of this deal. What happens when a pitcher with below average commands sees his stuff slip some?

Matt
Guest
Matt
7 years 9 months ago

Agreed with Mike on age… AJ might pitch well for the first year, maybe two, but he has never been confused with Greg Maddux for control (few have), he could see an increase in flyballs and ultimately HRs if his fastball doesn’t hold…

JWay
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Way to much ERA/WHIP in this thread, and full of small sample sizes. Also any good athletic trainer or physical therapist will say performing injured is ridiculous, your effectiveness may or may not remain, but often your movements are compensating, usually throwing off form, and thus possibly causing worse damage, or damaging other things. I think its a solid deal, the Yankees need to stop signing guys I like.

Mike Ketchen
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

So his age is a non factor?
Also small sample sizes?
He has made 30+starts twice in his career in ten big league seasons.
Also WHIP ill give, but what about the fact he has posted a K/BB rate over 3 once in those ten seasons. And he also walk over 3 guys per 9. I get that it is just money so it doesnt matter to the yanks. But do you really think playing in front of a worst defense and coming off a career high in innings pitched not to mention a 55+ IP increase from the yr before he will be great next season? Seems like a lot of negatives to me.

Mike
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Tim Lincecum walks more than three batters per 9 innings.

Matt
Guest
Matt
7 years 9 months ago

Really, its AJ giving us the small sample size with his oft-injured (mostly mentally) career.

Mike Ketchen
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Tim Lincecum is also two yrs into his career and has already posted a K/BB ratio over 3 as many times as Burnett. Once, your thoughts?]

Mike
Guest
7 years 9 months ago

Not much, really. I was just fooling around a bit and got busted on it. I feel his K/BB is still good enough that the BB/9 aren’t overly concerning, and if I was still goofing I might say something about Ks and BBs being preferable to having the ball put in play against that defense. That’s that.

And to Stephen, that was a joke.

tdotsports1
Member
5 years 19 days ago

Hmm, it appears “Matt” was right. AJ Burnett = bust.

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