A.J. Burnett Redux: The Pros and Cons

ny_g_burnett1x_sq_300

(Hint: It’s mostly cons)

During this offseason, there had been whispers about A.J. Burnett retiring. He even told a Pittsburgh radio station that there was a 50/50 chance of it happening. He said it was “the Pirates or retirement” but as we all found out yesterday, Burnett has decided to pitch again in 2014.

He’s a free agent which means he can go anywhere and not necessarily back to the Pirates, though they have said they’d entertain the idea if he wants to return. The Pirates had already declined to extend a $14.1M qualifying offer to him in December which means they could have had draft pick compensation but won’t if he now signs with another team.

Burnett wasn’t terrible was pretty good in 2013. His W-L record was 10-11 but his ERA was 3.30 and he led the Pirates in innings pitched (191) and strikeouts (209).

So if he doesn’t go back to Pittsburgh, how would a reunion in the Bronx play out?

Last night, the reaction on Twitter was not as filled with vitriol as I thought it would be. Some were even calling for the Yankees to go after Burnett. Here’s the thing though, A.J. Burnett brought out the worst in people on that platform when he pitched for the Yankees. He also brought out the worst in some of the beat writers and even some national columnists. I remember the phrase “head case” being bandied about like it was no big deal and as someone who struggles with mental illness, I didn’t appreciate it at all.

Burnett’s tenure with the Yankees wasn’t very pretty the first time around so do we want to go through that all again?

Some people brought up Javier Vazquez as an example of a guy who was given a second chance in Pinstripes but how bringing him back a second time wasn’t the best idea. And you all know what moment you think of when you hear the name Javy Vazquez, every Yankee fan replays it in their mind like a recurring nightmare. And yes, it was unfair to him but we couldn’t help it. Plus, that moment will be embedded in our memory banks more than likely until we all take our last breaths.

This morning, the possibility of a Burnett return to Pinstripes spurred a pretty amusing behind the scenes conversation among the IIATMS writers and I wanted to share some of the highlights with you:

Matt I. started it off the email chain with: “Am I crazy or would he make a good deal of sense for the Yankees at this point?”

Brad “Sure. They could always use another BP pitcher.”

William: “Over 50% ground balls and unless Ryan is at short, who is going to catch them all?”

Jason: “Can we play 5 infielders when AJ pitches (if Jeter is at SS)?”

Brad: “Teix at first, Roberts at second, KJ at third, Jeter at shortstop, Ryan at longstop?”

Most of us guffawed at the longstop comment because of the image it evokes and because the Yankees probably do need one.

As for the not-so-amusing but filled with honesty remarks made by the writers this morning, well, most of us agreed that revisiting A.J. Burnett in Pinstripes would probably not be a good idea for him or for us. The consensus is a big fat no because as William said, “I don’t want to have to buy another bottle of Tums.”

So what do you guys think? Should the Yankees even entertain the idea or just forget it?

Stacey is co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money, co-host of the It's About The Money, Stupid podcast and is a monthly contributor to ESPN's SweetSpot Blog. She is a former contributor at Aerys Sports and High Heat Stats. She has contributed to group projects at Baseball: Past And Present and the Hall of Stats. Her work has appeared in USA Today's Sports Weekly and most recently, she wrote four pieces for Derek Jeter: Celebrating the Yankees' Captain Clutch, a magazine printed by i5 Publishing.

One thought on “A.J. Burnett Redux: The Pros and Cons

  1. […] By Stacey Gotsulias […]

Comments are closed.