He Made it There

A.J. Burnett has just about made it anywhere, and importantly, he has always done it his

Thumbnail image for Burnett copy.jpgway.  Swish!  Two Sinatra references in one sentence.  So here I am spreading the news because he is leaving today.

It is difficult not to love Burnett, because of the type of pitcher he is:  fearsome attitude on the mound, cocky, throws heavy duty heat and is just flat out never scared on the mound.  He knows he has the stuff, and knows he can back it up.  The machismo, the hook, the heat, racking up the K’s and taking no prisoners, Burnett was awesome and he definately was one of my favourites on the team over last few years.

However, for all these admirable qualities, there were a number of glaring inconsistancies with A.J.  The Yankees will need to have a better have a catcher than the aging Jorge Posada now with Burnett on the mound.  Burnett was always terrible out of the stretch windup.  His ERA inflatates out of the stretch, opponent’s batting average goes up and he is generally just very slow to the plate.  It is not often he gives up two hits in an inning, but when does, not being able to hold baserunners is a problem and it drove me crazy when I watched him pitch.  With the Yankees now battling Tampa for the division, I can see this being a problem down the road.       

An obvious inconsistancy, is the injuries he has withstood in the past.  In 2008, he spent limited time on the DL for the Blue Jays.  Having him here in Toronto last season, pitching very well, almost made the last two years worth it.  Burnett was limited by injury in those years posting 10-8 records in both seasons.  Those are some mediocre numbers for a guy oozing that much machismo.  Actually, when you look at Burnett’s whole career, with the exception of last season, he has never had more than an average pitching record.  Maybe a bit better than average some years. 

A number of general inconsistancies.  That is what Yankee fans will probably find with A.J. Burnett.  He can be absolutely amazing one day, then another day, runners will reach base, they will steal and manufacture runs, and Burnett will be rattled.  Struggling as he pitches out of the stretch all day.

Some believe the Jays are now heading in a new direction.  Saving the high free agent contracts to mid-level players, and only keeping the money for a few ‘big-time’ stars (i.e. Roy Halladay worth every penny!, Alex Rios worth it, and Vernon Wells??? not worth the injuries that is for sure).  I don’t know if I see that for the future?  J.P. still has to dump fairly high contracts to B.J. Ryan, Lyle Overbay, and Scott Rolen for that to happen.  Cost cutting, and restructuring could be good for the Jays.  Only time will tell, but now more than ever, we will see if the farm system that J.P. has been compiling can achieve the great things that some people foresee.  Adam Lind, Aaron Hill, Travis Snider, David Purcey, Jesse Litsch, Casey Janssen, Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero, Scott Richmond, Brad Mills and Dustin McGowan in particular.  Boys, it is your time to shine. 

A.J. Burnett meet Frank Sinatra.  I know you are more in to heavy metal and alternative music.  Maybe, you’ll grow a taste for hearing Frank at the end of the game?  Its up to you Burnett, Burrrrrnett!  Dun, dunna, dunna, dun, dun, dunna, dunna, Dun!           



  1. The Iceman

    Nice post. As much as I loved watching AJ walk out to the bullpen before every game with his Dora backpark on, it’s easy to see why this deal is going to come back and haunt the Yankees. He is injury prone, and doesn’t deal well with pressure. Just wait ’till he has a couple of rough outings in the Bronx, and see how he reacts to the fans there. I think last year was his career season. Let’s see what some of our youngsters can do to help out Halladay, such as Purcey or even Romero.

  2. Jane Heller

    You guys worry me about AJ not being able to deal with pressure. There’s nothing BUT pressure in the Bronx. I’m less worried about his not being able to hold runners on – we’ve dealt with that with other power pitchers. I just hope he maintains his swagger and nasty stuff and doesn’t get hurt. Famous last words.


  3. flairforthedramatic

    “He can be absolutely amazing one day, then another day, runners will reach base, they will steal and manufacture runs, and Burnett will be rattled.”
    ^Ahh… we’ve seen a lot of that from our pitchers.. I think we can handle it right about now.^
    However, despite his downfalls, I’m pretty excited to see him in pinstripes. I think he’ll generate a lot of laughs.. can you imagine him dumping the gatorade on Girardi or Mariano or someone? The Yanks need a prankster lol.
    V – http://flairforthedramatic.mlblogs.com

  4. hardballblog

    I agree Jane. Sometimes players just collapse under the pressure. Playing in a large market is a lot harder than people give it credit for. Playing in any market has a ton of pressure to be honest. It is hard for players to be constantly critiqued by anyone and everyone, especially the ones in big markets. Professional players are plain people like you and me minus the obnoxious athleticism. They worry about things and get nervous, succumb to pressure and make bad decisions. I think Burnett will be fine though, he just has the look of a big game pitcher. That is one reason I wanted him to land in Atlanta.

  5. welikeroywelikeroy

    Thanks for the comments everyone,

    Burnett actually was under a fair amount of pressure in Toronto. Probably nowhere near to the amount he would recieve in New York, but still a fair amount. Jays fans grew very tired of his inconsistancy, and the injuries upset fans and the media a ton. He gave the crowd the finger after one outing. Jays were screaming to trade him near the deadline for the past two seasons. He performed very well under the pressure late last year! Fun pitcher to watch on the hill regardless of all those things. As a Yankee fan, I’d be happy.

  6. juliasrants

    It will be very interesting to see if he can handle the pressure. And he will feel the most pressure when it comes time to pitch in his first Red Sox/Yankee game. It can cause mere mortals to weep. That is when we will truly see what Burnett is made of.


  7. jimmy27nyy


    Well, the Blue Jays still have Doc Halladay; that’s the pitcher all teams want … But, A.J. Burnett, will def add to the Yankees rotation: Joba, Wang, CC, and A.J. [and, maybe, Pettitte, or, Lowe, or Sheets ???] … I’m concerned about A.J.’s injury history, and was against giving him the 5th year; but, that’s what it took to “close the deal”, — “so be it” !!! … Also, all the talk [in the above comments] about A.J. not being able to handle the pressure in the Bronx has to be a major concern to all Yankee fans … Every Yankee game is pressure-filled, and basically a “must-win” game in the “Yankees Universe” … So, if A.J. gets off to a slow start, and, or, doesn’t handle the pressure well , he will hear it from the fans !!! … Anyway, after the all-star game last year, in 15 starts, A.J. Burnett was (9-2) with a 2.72 ERA, and 113 strikeouts !!! … That’s the A.J. Burnett all Yankee fans look forward to watching “pitch” in 2009, and future years !!! … It should be a “fun” race in the AL East next year !!! … Jimmy [27NYY]


  8. happyyoungster

    A.J. Burnett reminds me a lot of one of our own (now most likely former) pitchers…Ben Sheets.

    Similar qualities and similar history.

    I, personally, think Sheets would have been a better signing than Burnett (no offense) for the Yanks. Probably for the same reason you are a fan of A.J., it’s who you know. You’ve watched him pitch over the years like we have in Milwaukee with Sheets. Dominating pitcher beset by injuries.
    I wish them both the best of luck.


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