Window closing on AJ’s rotation spot?-UPDATE

Last turn this Thursday?

I know many die-hard Yankee fans have been waiting for a sign from Yankee decision makers that AJ Burnett is in danger of losing his spot in the Yankee rotation. To date, Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi have been staunch defenders of AJ, but at least one of those men have opened the door for dropping him from the current 6 man rotation.  Mark Fiensand of the New York Daily News has the details. First set of quotes come from Yankee manager Joe Girardi:

“With all these doubleheaders, we’ve got to play games,” Girardi said. “We need six men.”

Asked if Burnett might benefit from being skipped a turn in the rotation, Girardi immediately shot down the idea.

“We can’t,” Girardi said. “I don’t know if we can. Look at our schedule.”

That’s true, but only for this coming week. Here’s the schedule. The Yanks have a doubleheader this afternoon where Ivan Nova and Bartolo Colon will start. With a doubleheader today and no off days until September 15th, you need AJ to make his next start against the Red Sox this Thursday to keep everyone else from throwing on short rest. But after Thursday, you can go back to a 5 man for the rest of the month. (NOTE-There may be another DH with the Rays during the last home stand, but it has yet to be scheduled). Brian Cashman may have alluded to this with the following set of quotes from the same article:

Cashman wouldn’t speculate on Burnett’s future in the rotation.

“We’ll deal with it when we’re in a position to deal with it,” Cashman said. “When we have to make a decision, we’ll have to make a decision. Obviously, he’s not pitching well.”


Cashman, who has rushed to Burnett’s defense during the past month, didn’t take the opportunity to deliver a vote of confidence to his maligned starter.

“It is what it is,” Cashman said. “He’s obviously pitching terribly right now.”

That decision may be coming fairly soon. It’s unavoidable to have him make his next turn facing the Red Sox, but after that the rationale for the 6 man goes by the wayside for at least the next 3 weeks. The Yanks were previously on the record being against a 6 man, citing Sabathia’s displeasure with the idea and a desire to keep everyone else in their regular routines. The schedule has forced them to keep it temporarily, but once you get past this Thursday that will no longer be the case. It must be noted they have also hinted recently that they’d like to skip Colon at some point, to give his 38 year old arm a break. He would have to go 2 more turns through the rotation before an off day on 9/15 would allow you to do that. Or, you could have Colon and AJ take turns as the #5 for the rest of the month. But however you want to do it, the rotation needs to be reexamined once you get past the Red Sox series. With the way he’s throwing the ball right now, it’s difficult to imagine Burnett having a successful outing facing the high-powered Sox lineup in Fenway. Especially after getting tattooed by the middling O’s and weak hitting Twins in his last two starts. But that may be what he needs  to do in order to save his spot in the rotation. In his only start facing the Sox this year on June 8th at Yankee Stadium, Burnett gave up 8 runs in 5.2 IP. Another outing like that and its difficult to imagine the Yankees will continue to run him out there.

UPDATE-Ian Begley of ESPN-NY has just confirmed my take, saying Girardi plans to cut the rotation down to 5 after the Red Sox series. All signs point to that being bad news for AJ, but we’ll cross that bridge after Thursday night.

3 thoughts on “Window closing on AJ’s rotation spot?-UPDATE

  1. Jake Peavy has pitched 6 IP or more in 9 of his last 10 starts. He last pitched 8/26. If he was a Yankee, he could start on an extra day’s rest in place of Burnett Thursday, but nooooooo you all would rather have the weaker rotation vs. the Red Sox and give the Red Sox a better chance to sweep the Yanks and unofficially clinch the division (minimum three-game lead over the Yanks through 9/1) with Burnett in the rotation.

    What if the Yanks lose the first two games to the Red Sox hmmmm? You’d have to start Burnett in the rubber game unless you wanted to sit him thus tell him he is not good enough to face the Red Sox, and then what? Most likely bye bye A.L. East title if he starts the rubber game after a pair of Yankee losses, hello Yanks beginning EVERY postseason series on the road.

    All of you who say no to Jake Peavy are idiots.

    Where’s the head idiot who said Burnett was better than him?

    One call to Kenny Williams and Peavy could be a Yankee inside 24 hours. I coud see the White Sox wanting to unload his $21M for next year.

    I harp on the Yanks getting this guy because look at them right now. They don’t have a solid #2 starter for the postseason rotation which Peavy would be. Getting him ensures Burnett and Colon are off the postseason roster and Hughes is in the postseason pen or battling for a postseason starting job with Garcia (Sabathia/Garcia or Hughes/Peavy/Nova.)

    Bottom line is Jake Peavy > Any Yankees starter after Sabathia. Grin and bear that I’m right, or keep fantasizing that Garcia is on the level of Lester, Scherzer, Ugando, Haren, and Price (all #2s this year) which he is not. He is an overacheiving #4, that’s it.

  2. If the yankees loae the first two there is no rubber game dude. A rubber game only happens when you split the first two. Thats what it means.

    Aside fron that I like peavy but why would be screaming calling peopke idiots if they disagree with you?

    The annonymity of the internet has destroyed civil discourse. So rude, so uncalled for.

    I should save your posts as an example to my kids of how spoiled brats behave.

    Shame on you.