Assuming for a moment that the Yanks "overbid" offer will win Sabathia's affections, the Yanks are looking to make a very expensive offer for a station car:
The Yankees, according to several industry insiders, spent yesterday preparing an offer - perhaps a five-year deal worth about $80 million - for Toronto righty A.J. Burnett. This would come after they offered Milwaukee lefty CC Sabathia a six-year contract worth between $140 million and $145 million.
"It wouldn't surprise me if they went to five years with [Burnett]," a baseball executive said of the Yankees. "[Ryan] Dempster is going to sign back with the Cubs for four years and $13 million per, and Burnett is worth more than that."
Coming off a career-high in victories, the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder is easily the second-best pitcher on the free-agent market behind Sabathia, so $15 million to $16 million a season for four or five years isn't out of the question.
I can't wrap my feeble and fading brain around the concept of adding two pitchers for $220 million dollars. Not to mention, while I like Burnett and his stuff is certainly ace-worthy (at times), add me to the growing list of people who are really worried about his injury-riddled past. He has thrown 200+ innings three times in his career; twice during a contract year.
Having watched/followed many of Burnett's games this year, I noticed a trend: He's subject to that one bad inning. He can be absolutely cruising for 5 innings (with 7 K's, 2 hits) then give up 3 or 4 runs and not make it thru the 6th. Almost like Pettitte but with the high K rate. That K rate certainly is appealing, especially in the post-season, when a shut-down ace is needed.
Burnett has done very well against the AL East, particularly the Yanks. Over his career:
- 8 games
- ERA: 2.56
- 56.1 IP, avg 7+ IP/start
- 53 K's, nearly 1 K/IP
- WHIP of 1.179 (including IBB)
- 16 games
- ERA: 2.98
- 117.2 IP, avg 7.1 IP/start
- 123 K's, over 1 K/IP
- WHIP of 1.062 (including IBB)
- 5 games
- ERA: 1.64
- 38.1 IP, avg 7.2 IP/start!
- 43 K's, over 1.1 K/IP
- WHIP of 1.064
- 4 games
- ERA: 2.60
- 27.2 IP, avg 7 IP/start
- 24 K's, nearly 1 K/IP
- WHIP of 1.227
- 3 games
- ERA: 3.15
- 20.0 IP, avg 6.2 IP/start
- 26 K's, over 1.3 K/IP (11.7 K/9IP)
- WHIP of 1.400
If you want to check out his performance by ballpark, please check here. Of note, Burnett has pitched three games IN Fenway and boasts a 0.40 ERA with only 9 hits allowed over 22.2 IP. Pretty fancy. Also, not a bad indicator about his mentality and lack of fear pitching in big, bad Fenway.
In short, I like Burnett's bulldog approach, potentially dominating stuff and his physical size. I'm concerned extending him to five years. Maybe I'm gun-shy after the Pavano Experiment, but at least Burnett's trial-tested in the cauldron of the AL East. If I can get comfortable with the idea that Burnett will only pitch 27 starts a year rather than 33, I'll be happy with the signing, but I am not sure.
Either way, he's a nice station car.