Stories like these warm the cockles of my cold, cold heart

We’re still one day away from the official start of Spring Training, and already reports of Yankees showing up to camp early are coming in. And thank goodness, because another morning of Goddamn snow in New York today is about a million percent not what the doctor ordered.

According to AM New York — which doesn’t appear to post its sports stories online because they are mostly an amalgamation of (behind the pay wall) Newsday pieces, and so I don’t have a link — Curtis Granderson, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves, Boone Logan and Chad Gaudin are already in camp.

Burnett really sticks out to me more than anyone here. Everyone else in that group of pitchers is young and has no guarantees, each hoping to establish themselves in a particular role with the team. Burnett is the owner of an $82.5 million contract as well as the #2 slot in the rotation, not to mention a newly minted World Champion. Yet he’s already down in Tampa working out.

For better or for worse, I’ve long been a Burnett fan, and was more than on board with his signing last year, as divisive as it was. As Yankee fans in 2009 we all witnessed his enigmatic mixture of struggles and outright dominance, perhaps best underscored in a postseason in which he ranged from pretty good to horrible to flat-out brilliant.

I think Burnett is poised for a breakout year in pinstripes. While it’s somewhat hard to quibble with a 106 ERA+, I can argue with a 4.33 FIP. I expect more from our #2 starter, and Burnett has the stuff to be a better pitcher than that. Burnett’s always had difficulty harnessing his electric repertoire, but given that he already has a year in New York under his belt — a year in which he won the World Series — I expect very good things from A.J. this season. I don’t think a sub-4.00 FIP is out of the question.

7 thoughts on “Stories like these warm the cockles of my cold, cold heart

  1. I feel good about the whole Yankee squad. A team gets swagger when it wins it all and is pretty much kept together. I feel like the Yankees have it this year.

  2. Agreed, although you know once the Yankees get off to their usual slow April start the media will start whining about how not bringing Damon and Matsui back is killing the team.

    Could you imagine the Yanks actually finished April in first place? Feels like it's been forever, although a quick check on BR shows that they ended April 2006 tied for first.

  3. April is by far the most difficult month of the season for the Yankees this year. They go to the west cost, play Boston and Tampa, and have 15/22 games on the road. If they are in first place at the end of april, the division is probably over.

  4. Craig K

    I know that the start of a season means nothing (see: 2009) but it would be nice to see the Yanks maintain a 1st place presence in the AL East for a majority of the season. I miss that "weight-less" feeling in my chest of floating on top of the AL East…

  5. Ahh, good to know Paul; I hadn't even taken the time yet to thoroughly analyze the schedule. A quick glance shows the only relative lightweights in April are the A's and the O's, and I'm not even sure Baltimore is going to be a walk in the park this year.

    Of course, if we could just switch our uniforms to read "BOSTON" across our chests when playing the Orioles then we could chalk up an automatic 18 victories in the win column.

  6. Is it just me, or do the Yankees seem to have the most difficult schedule in the AL East every year? I'll plead homerism on this one, but I feel like we begin April in Anaheim and Boston every season while the Sox play entirely at home and get to have 16 games against the O's and the Indians.

  7. The Yankees have the toughest schedule in April, but I they have an easier schedule this year than the Red Sox or Rays.
    http://www.mlbexpertanalysis.com/blog/?p=12

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