Tag:A.J. Burnett
Posted on: February 12, 2012 11:46 am
Edited on: February 12, 2012 3:45 pm
 

Update on Burnett-to-Pirates trade talks

By Matt Snyder

This past week, trade talk connecting maligned Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett to the Pirates picked up. Here's the latest, via CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman.

The Yankees and Pirates are still talking and there's been "progress and continuing optimism" on getting a deal done. One obvious snag to this point has been money, as Burnett is due a whopping $33 million for the next two seasons. The Pirates are willing to take on more than $10 million while the Yankees would prefer a 50/50 split, but there are indications of a compromise on the horizon. Next, the Yankees are seeking "at least a reasonably decent prospect" in return, but the Pirates are actually more willing to compromise on the money issue than prospects.

Pirates, Yankees talk trade
Burnett, 35, was 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 173 strikeouts in 190 1/3 innings last season for the Yankees. He led the majors in wild pitches, one season after leading the majors in hit batsmen. He's currently ticketed to be the Yankees' fifth starter, but shedding his salary would help free up some extra money to sign a left-handed designated hitter like Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui.

If the proposed trade comes to fruition, Burnett would probably bump Jeff Karstens from the Pirates' rotation, joining Erik Bedard, James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Charlie Morton. Of course, Morton's health is in question to start the season and Bedard's health is pretty much always in question, so there would be a great bet that all six of the pitchers would get a good amount of starts.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:53 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 10:13 am
 

Baseball's worst contracts, Part III: Pitchers



By Matt Snyder


As we conclude the short series on overpaid players, we'll take a look at the man on the hill: The pitcher.

The interesting thing I found about pitchers is that not too many "long-term" contracts stood out like a sore thumb as being bad in terms of what is left on the current deal. A lot of the honorable mention types are for just one year, maybe two. This, I believe, illustrates the caution the overwhelming majority of teams exercise when coughing up long-term deals for pitchers.

That doesn't mean there are no guys on the list, however. We have a couple really good fits.

As a reminder, we're only talking about the contracts from now until the conclusion of the deal. Any money already banked doesn't count in this exercise.

Right-handed starters

Worst: John Lackey
Remaining contract: 3 years, $47.85 million

Ignore that Lackey is injured now and will miss all of the 2012 season. In fact, that actually helps the Red Sox here if last season was any indication. Lackey was brutal in '11, putting together a 6.41 ERA, 1.62 WHIP while leading the majors in earned runs and wild pitches. He allowed a whopping 203 hits in his 160 innings pitched and posted a negative WAR (Wins Above Replacement player). And when he's healthy again, he'll be 34.

Honorable Mention

A.J. Burnett, Yankees: He helped the Yankees win the World Series title in 2009, but was he really integral? He was bad in the ALCS and was terrible in one of his World Series starts after leading the league in walks and wild pitches during the regular season. Since then, Burnett is 21-26 with a 5.20 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. He's now the Yankees' fifth starter and will make $33 million for the next two seasons.

"Fausto Carmona," Indians: He may miss the season after being caught for identity fraud (his name is actually Roberto Hernandez Heredia). He's due $7 million this season.

Jake Peavy, White Sox: It's hard to not appreciate the way Peavy is an absolute bulldog on the hill, but he was 7-7 with a 4.92 ERA last season as he battled back from a severe injury and he's set to make $17 million in 2012.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals: Twelve starts in 2010 got Westbrook a two-year deal with the Cardinals. He's going to make $8.5 million this season after a pretty bad 2011 campaign.

Carlos Zambrano, Cubs/Marlins: He'll make $19 million this year, but the Cubs are paying most of it so Big Z can pitch for the Marlins.

Derek Lowe, Braves/Indians: He'll make $15 million this year, but the Braves are paying most of it so Lowe can pitch for the Indians.

Left-handed starters

Worst: Barry Zito
Remaining contract: 2 years, $39 million

Perhaps the worst news is there's actually a club option for 2014. Now, obviously the Giants won't pick that up, barring Zito becoming Tim Lincecum overnight, but there's a $7 million buyout if they don't pick up the option. So Zito will cost the Giants $47 million more, at the very least, before they can wash their hands of him. This actually has to be one of the worst contracts of all time. Zito is 43-61 with a 4.55 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and zero postseason innings pitched in his five seasons with the Giants.

Honorable Mention

Johan Santana, Mets: He was earning his deal pre-injury, so this one isn't really anyone's fault. Santana is due $49.5 million for the next two seasons, though, so that is rough.

Relievers

Worst: Rafael Soriano
Remaining contract: 2 years, $25 million

Soriano wasn't even the Yankees' best setup man last season (David Robertson was way better). Soriano was a stud in Tampa Bay in '10, so it's possible he's a great closer for the Yankees in 2013, if Mariano Rivera retires. But even when Soriano had a good second half last season, his numbers weren't awesome. And, again, we're talking about a non-closer making eight figures per season.

Honorable Mention

Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies: It will be interesting to see how Papelbon performs throughout this contract. He could very well earn his $50 million over the course of the next four years, but I'm wondering what the Phillies' front office thought when they saw that the Reds signed 2011 Philly closer Ryan Madson to a one-year, $8.5 million deal. I also wonder how this deal will feel if the Phillies can't find a way to lock up Cole Hamels long-term (he's a free agent next offseason). So this one has less to do with Papelbon and more to do with what the deal might end up costing the Phillies, because $50 million is an awful lot to give to a closer.

Brandon Lyon, Astros: Lyon will make $5.5 million this season. His 2011 season was cut short due to an injury, but he had an 11.48 ERA with as many blown saves as actual saves (four).



Part I: Infielders and catchers
Part II: Outfielders and designated hitters

Source for all figures was Cot's Baseball Contracts

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:30 pm
 

Yankees upgrade rotation in one night



By C. Trent Rosecrans

In one night the Yankees' rotation has gone from weakness to strength, adding right-handed starters Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda.

While it remains to be seen exactly how the Yankees' rotation shakes up behind CC Sabathia, it's ultimately better after Friday night's moves as Kuroda and Pineda join the rotation in the Bronx. No matter what whether it's Kuroda-Pineda or Pineda-Kuroda, it's better than the Ivan Nova-A.J. Burnett combo penciled in behind Sabathia at about 7 p.m. on Friday.

Yankees' big night

Sabathia's an ace, that's for sure, and Nova's a good, young pitcher. But Pineda's a potential ace and Kuroda is a steady starter that will certainly benefit from having the Yankees' offense in his corner.

Nova, 25, started the season in Triple-A, but established himself as one of the team's most consistent starters and should be a shoo-in to stay in the rotation. However, if he has a horrible spring training, there's a chance he could be lumped in with the competition for the fifth spot along with Burnett, Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes. The Yankees have let it be known they're willing to deal Burnett, eating a large chunk of the $33 million still owed him, but it still seems unlikely they'd find a taker. Garcia, like fellow long-shot Bartolo Colon, exceeded expectations in 2011 and the team brought him back on a one-year deal.

The team could boast five starters with at least nine wins (an average of 13.8) and an ERA under 4.00 in 2011. A total of five of their choices had at least 10 wins and four had at least 160 strikeouts, while three had as many as 190 innings pitched last season.

Here's a look at the team's improved rotation for next season with 2011 stats:

CC Sabathia: 19-8, 3.00 ERA, 237 1/3 IP, 230 K, 61 BB, 3.02 xFIP, 7.1 WAR (FanGraphs)
Hiroki Kuroda: 13-16, 3.07 ERA, 202 IP, 161 K, 49 BB, 3.56 xFIP, 2.4 WAR (FanGraphs)
Michael Pineda: 9-10, 3.74 ERA, 171 IP, 173 K, 55 BB, 3.53 xFIP, 3.4 WAR (FanGraphs)
Ivan Nova: 16-4, 3.70 ERA, 165 1/3 IP, 98 K, 57 BB, 4.16 xFIP, 1.5 WAR (FanGraphs)
Freddy Garcia: 12-8, 3.62 ERA, 146 2/3 IP, 96 K, 45 BB, 4.36 xFIP, 2.2 WAR (FanGraphs)
A.J. Burnett: 11-11, 5.15 ERA, 190 1/3 IP, 173 K, 83 BB, 3.86 xFIP, 1.5 WAR (FanGraphs)
Phil Hughes: 5-5, 5.79 ERA, 74 2/3 IP, 47 K, 27 BB, 490 xFIP, 0.7 WAR (FanGraphs)

While Hughes is most likely headed to the bullpen (or onto the trade block), it would be interesting if the Yankees decided to move Burnett there as well. With his fastball and high strikeout rate, he could be effective out of the pen. Opponents hit just .228/.302/.394 against Burnett in their first plate appearance against Burnett in 2011, .263/.332/.474 the second time through and .301/.392/.549 the third time through the lineup. If the team can't get rid of Burnett, they should at least find a place where he can succeed, and now without a glaring need in the rotation, now could be the time to experiment.

If Garcia or Hughes don't work out, it could be time the Yankees give either lefty Manny Banuelos or right-hander Dellin Betances get a shot at the big leagues. But that's now a luxury the Yankees have, not a necessity.

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Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Homegrown Team: New York Mets



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule of this feature, click here.

Another day, another entry in our series. For this one, we'll stop over in Queens and meet the Mets. We know about Wright and Reyes, but what else is there? For one, a guy who just tied the postseason home run record. Knowing that the Mets traded him for Jorge Velandia has to be a bit painful for Mets fans (don't feel too bad, though, because the A's and Brewers gave up on Cruz, too). Anyway, let's dive in.

Lineup

1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Nelson Cruz, RF
5. Ike Davis, 1B
6. Mike Carp, LF
7. Angel Pagan, CF
8. Josh Thole, C

Starting Rotation

1. Dillon Gee
2. Jonathon Niese
3. Philip Humber
4. Mike Pelfrey
5. A.J. Burnett

Bullpen

Closer - Heath Bell
Set up - Octavio Dotel, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Lindstrom, Bobby Parnell, Joe Smith, Guillermo Mota
Long - Aaron Heilman

Notable Bench Players

Drew Butera, Josh Satin, Ruben Tejada, Ty Wigginton, Lucas Duda, Fernando Martinez, Carlos Gomez and the imcomparable Wily Mo Pena. Also, Scott Kazmir is on this team. If he never left, would it have been possible that he was an upper-tier starter for years? We'll never know.

What's Good?

I like the bullpen. The bench is good, too. As a whole, one thing that stuck out to me is there aren't any really glaring holes. And assuming everyone is healthy, that's a pretty stout top four to five in the batting order. Reyes setting up for Wright and Cruz would be scary for opposing pitchers.

What's Not?

The starting rotation is a bunch of threes and fours. There's potential to better sure -- like if Burnett gets locked in for stretches -- but if we're looking at just the present, the lack of an ace would hurt as the season progressed, especially in terms of stopping modest losing streaks. The catcher and center field spots could be better as well, but, as I mentioned above, it's not like those are glaring holes. On the whole, while there aren't any real glaring holes, there's nothing that stands out as spectacular other than a healthy Reyes while Wright, Cruz and Bell are very good.

Comparison to real 2011

The real-life Mets were 77-85, and I think this bunch is a bit better than that. It's a team that would put up a winning record and maybe contend for a wild card. It's definitely not great, as the lack of an ace shows, but the weaknesses here are all pretty minor. I'm thinking mid-80s in wins with a ceiling of 90 and floor of high-70s? That sounds about right.

Next: Cincinnati Reds

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Posted on: November 24, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2011 2:06 pm
 

Reports: Yankees, Freddy Garcia agree to new deal

Freddy Garcia

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Could the Yankees' rotation for 2012 bear a striking resemblance to 2011?

The team has agreed to a one-year deal with right-hander Freddy Garcia, ESPN.com's Buster Olney writes, noting the team may not add another starter -- or at least one it will count on to make its rotation. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets the deal is worth $5 million.

With Garcia's expected signing, the Yankees could pencil in a rotation of CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, A.J. Burnett, Garcia and Phil Hughes. That's not too much different from 2011, although the team could still look through the scrap heap like it did last offseason when it signed Garcia and Bartolo Colon.

While the Yankees' rotation was its weak spot, it wasn't so weak that it stopped New York from winning baseball's toughest division. The team could go into the 2012 season with this rotation and look to acquire a starter at the deadline. Some of the more interesting names scheduled for free agency after the 2012 season -- meaning they could be trade bait at the deadline -- include Zack Greinke, Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano, while another group has team options, including Dan Haren, Jake Peavy, Ervin Santana, Fausto Carmona, Jorge De La Rosa, Tim Hudson and James Shields.

It will be interesting to see how the new free agency compensation rules change the way teams approach their free-agent players.

New York offered Garcia arbitration on Wednesday. The 35-year-old was 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA in 26 games in 2011, including 25 starts. Garcia struck out 5.9 batters per nine innings (96 strikeouts in 146 2/3 innings) and had a 4.36 xFIP (fielding independent pitching, normalized for park factors). He made $1.5 million in 2011.

Follow the latest free agent moves with the CBSSports.com Free Agent Tracker.

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Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:15 am
Edited on: October 7, 2011 12:59 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 New York Yankees

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: New York Yankees
Record: 97-65, 1st place in AL East. Lost ALDS 3-2 to Detroit.
Manager: Joe Girardi
Best hitter: Curtis Granderson -- .262/.364/.552, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 136 R, 10 3B, 25 SB
Best pitcher: CC Sabathia -- 19-8, 3.00 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 230 K in 237 1/3 IP

2011 SEASON RECAP

It was a pretty normal regular season for the Yankees, as they brought home their 12th AL East title in the past 16 seasons, but it wasn't drawn up the same way as other successful seasons. The pitching rotation from Day 1 was patchwork. Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon and a host of others -- such as Mark Prior -- were brought in during spring training to see if any would stick and it worked out to varying degrees with Garcia, Colon and rookie Ivan Nova. The offense was once-again mighty, as Curtis Granderson emerged as an MVP candidate to pick up the slack for the injured and struggling Alex Rodriguez. Still, in the end, this season will be viewed as a failure since the Yankees didn't win the World Series. If they don't win the World Series, they fell short of expectations. More than 20 other teams would have been ultimately satisfied by this campaign, but not the Yankees. Losing in the ALDS is a failure. Period.

2012 AUDIT

The Yankees are in a familiar spot. They're set up to contend for a World Series title again in 2012, but they are going to have to fill some holes -- namely that they need another reliable starting pitcher. Eyes can look forward and see they need to get younger pretty soon, but with several contracts locked in, the Yankees don't have much choice for 2012. And there is no reason to expect the Yankees to be anywhere but right in the playoff mix come September of 2012. It would be foolish to think otherwise.

FREE AGENTS

Robinson Cano, 2B (club option)
Eric Chavez, 3B
Nick Swisher, RF (club option)
Jorge Posada, DH
Bartolo Colon, SP
Freddy Garcia, SP
CC Sabathia, SP (can and probably will opt out)
Luis Ayala, RP

OFFSEASON FOCUS

They will most certainly bring back Sabathia and Cano. From there ...
  • The rotation will have Sabathia, Nova, Hughes and probably A.J. Burnett. He makes too much money to not plug in there. He has the ability to be a decent fifth starter. Still, that rotation appears pretty top-heavy for a team that expects to be the best in the majors. So they need a legitimate second starter behind Sabathia. And he's sitting right there, if interested. C.J. Wilson of the Rangers is left-handed, which fits well in Yankee Stadium, and is a free agent. With the Posada money coming off the books, in addition to the Colon/Garcia money, the Yankees can likely outbid anyone else for Wilson's services. They could even backload a deal if need be, because people like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter have expiring contracts in the next several years.
  • As I alluded to above, it's time to part ways with Posada and let Jesus Montero take over as the full-time DH. The youngster showed he has the ability to become a serious threat in the lineup and the Yankees need to inject some youth into the aging lineup. 
  • Pitching prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances don't appear to be ready yet, but they're close. They will be monitored pretty heavily heading into 2012 and if Hughes or Burnett aren't getting it done, it's possible there's a change made. Nova is proof the Yankees aren't afraid to throw someone in the fire.
  • Swisher's situation in right is interesting. Is he worth eight figures? Probably not, according to most teams. But the Yankees can afford that and there aren't many better options out there. What if the Twins don't come to terms on a contract extension with Michael Cuddyer, though? It wouldn't hurt for the Yankees to weigh their options, but the best guess is Swisher comes back. 
  • Really, there isn't that much more that needs to be done. Russell Martin, Mark Teixiera, Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson will again be everyday starters. The rotation has four men set and the back-end of the bullpen has a returning Joba Chamberlain along with Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera. The biggest issue is getting one more starting pitcher and then filling the bench with also-rans like the Yankees did this year with Andruw Jones, Eric Chavez et al. Considering they were close, but not good enough, I fully expect the Yankees to throw the bank at Wilson and that will be the only significant offseason move concerning a player outside the organization. The only caveat to that is the Yankees will have to agree with Sabathia first -- and I do believe the Yankees will do whatever it takes to keep him -- which means they could miss out on Wilson in the meantime. If they do miss out, the leftovers aren't awesome. Edwin Jackson, Erik Bedard and Joel Pineiro look like the best bets. If they wanted to trade, they're probably looking at the likes of Wandy Rodriguez or Jeff Niemann (I don't think the Rays would part with James Shields cheaply), so expect the Yankees to be very agressive with both Sabathia and then Wilson.
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Posted on: October 4, 2011 9:56 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 2:49 am
 

Huge early play: Granderson's catch



By Matt Snyder


We're a few innings in at this point, but it's hard to shake the fallout of Curtis Granderson's first-inning catch. With the bases loaded, Tigers right fielder Don Kelly hit a rocket to dead center field. Granderson at first came in on the ball before realizing it was going to go over his head. He then made an outstanding leaping catch to end the inning.

Considering Kelly can fly, Granderson didn't land on his feet and that the runners were all moving on contact -- there were two outs -- it most certainly would have been an inside-the-park grand slam if Granderson hadn't made the grab. So it would have been a 4-0 lead for the Tigers in the first inning, with fickle A.J. Burnett on the hill and Comerica Park would have been rocking. Essentially, there's an argument to be made that the series was over if Granderson doesn't make that catch.

Instead, it's 2-1 Yankees after four innings and Burnett hasn't been awful (4 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K).

It's far from over, but Granderson's recovery could well be the play that saved the season for the Yankees.



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Posted on: October 4, 2011 3:27 pm
 

ALDS Game 4: All about A.J.



By Matt Snyder


Yankees at Tigers, 8:37 p.m. ET, Comerica Park, TBS

LINEUPS

Tigers Yankees
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Derek Jeter SS 1 Austin Jackson CF
2 Curtis Granderson CF 2 Ramon Santiago 2B
3 Robinson Cano 2B 3 Delmon Young LF
4 Alex Rodriguez 3B 4 Miguel Cabrera 1B
5 Mark Teixeira 1B 5 Victor Martinez DH
6 Nick Swisher RF 6 Don Kelly RF
7 Jorge Posada DH 7 Jhonny Peralta SS
8 Russell Martin C 8 Alex Avila C
9 Brett Gardner LF 9 Wilson Betemit 3B
  A.J. Burnett RHP   Rick Porcello RHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Burnett vs. Tigers: Command has been an issue the past two seasons for Burnett, that's no secret. He led the majors in wild pitches in 2011 while missing enough spots to allow a hit per inning. His 5.15 ERA is a by-product of that. The Yankees were 16-16 in his starts this season and 81-49 when someone else started, so yeah, the negative press Burnett has gotten is with good reason. In two starts against the Tigers this season, however, Burnett wasn't half bad. He was 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 11 strikeouts in 12 innings. That certainly isn't great, but the Yankees would love six innings of two or three runs from Burnett in Game 4. His career numbers against Detroit are bad, though. In eight career starts against the Tigers, Burnett has a 6.33 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. He's started in Comerica Park four times and it was ugly -- 7.17 ERA, eight walks, five hit-by-pitch and three home runs in 21 1/3 innings. Amazingly, current Tigers don't hit Burnett very well. They are hitting a combined .239 against him. Miguel Cabrera is just 3-for-14 (.214), Victor Martinez is 7-for-27 (.259) and Delmon Young is 3-for-15 (.200).

Porcello vs. Yankees: He faced the Yankees one time this season, going seven innings and getting the win after allowing eight hits and two earned runs. In his career, though, he's 2-2 with a 5.56 ERA and 1.54 WHIP against the Yankees. Also, Porcello has been much worse at home this season than on the road. He's got a 5.64 home ERA, compared to a 4.00 road ERA. In terms of individual matchups, it's an incredibly small sample (no one has faced him more than 12 times), but Nick Swisher (1.017 OPS), Robinson Cano (.455 average) and Jorge Posada (.899 OPS) have handled him very well. On the flip-side, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter are a combined 2-for-28 off Porcello.

NOTES
New York-Detroit ALDS
  • All we've heard and read Tuesday is that the Yankees' season rests on the feeble shoulders of Burnett. Rightfully so, but don't discount the fact that the Yankees have a very capable offense and manager Joe Girardi is going to have a quick hook with his embattled starter. And Burnett isn't exactly facing Justin Verlander here, as Porcello can be roughed up. I wouldn't want to count on Burnett, either, but this game is by no means a done deal for Detroit. 
  • Booing A-Rod is obviously the popular thing to do, but he's not the only one with playoff issues. Nick Swisher has a career .170 postseason batting average. Mark Teixeira has a career .316 postseason slugging percentage, which is brutal even for a non-power hitter. And Russell Martin is just 1-for-9 this ALDS.
  • In the past two games, Tigers closer Jose Valverde has thrown 53 pitches and allowed four walks, a triple, a home run and two runs. There's no question manager Jim Leyland will use him again Tuesday night if he gets the chance, but the door is wide open for him to blow his first save of 2011.
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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com