Saturday, February 18, 2012
A.J. Burnett pitched 3 seasons for the Yankees. Although his performances in the latter 2 weren't so hot, the Yankees did get into the Playoffs in all 3 seasons.
And, unlike a lot of Yankees -- some who were in serious decline, some who moped their way out of town, some who were screwed over by management -- his last game, Game 4 of the ALDS, on the road, with our backs to the wall, he pitched 6 strong innings, and left with a lead the team held.
The enduring memory of A.J. is likely to be from May 2009 onward, the shaving-cream "pies" he gave to players as they were interviewed after getting walkoff hits. I guess that task passes to another pitcher now: It could be Nick Swisher, who's got the personality to do it, but since he's a hitter and likely to be in the dugout for a walkoff hit, if not on base or even getting said hit, it shouldn't be him.
It now appears that A.J. is going to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In return, the Yankees are getting Diego Moreno, a 25-year-old righthanded reliever, who has yet to appear beyond Double-A ball, but supposedly can throw 97 miles an hour; and Exicardo Cayones, a 20-year-old lefty outfielder whose highest level so far has been short-season A-ball. Both are from Venezuela.
I don't know if this trade will work out, but it does get rid of a big contract, and it also clears up the rotation somewhat:
1. CC Sabathia
2. Ivan Nova
3. Michael Pineda
4. Phil Hughes
5. Freddy Garcia
Actually, the middle three are probably interchangeable at this point. And, theoretically, Joba Chamberlain could still start, in case one goes down to injury or loses his effectiveness. Dellin Betances could also be a factor.
So, saying goodbye to A.J. Burnett is not a bad day for the Yankees.
Still, in a weird way, I'm gonna miss the goof.