As a diehard Yankee fan all I can say is: Oh, please, Oh, please, Oh, please, Oh, pleeeeaaase!!
After a somewhat inconsistent, but overall very decent 2009 debut with the Yankees, that helped bring the 27th World Championship to the Bronx, Burnett has been nothing short of a disaster. He has posted back to back ERAs over 5, with nearly matching FIPs of 4.83 and 4.77. His walk rates are consistently near the tops in the American League. He has made a run for the Bizarro Triple Crown of Pitching (leading the league in walks, HBP, and wild pitches) several times in his career.
When I think of A.J. Burnett, my first thought is of a game in 2006 that I saw him pitch in Toronto. He was, in a word, electric. His fastball was sitting at 98, touching triple digits; his curveball was buckling knees all afternoon. He was damn near unhittable. It’s a shame that a guy with that much talent and potential was never able put it all together to be the dominant pitcher he could be.
My second thought is to the 2009 World Series, where Burnett pitched two games. A 7 inning, 9 strike out, 1 run on 4 hit gem for a win, and a 2 inning, 6 run clunker. THAT is how I have come to know Burnett. A guy who on any given day has the ability to shut down any lineup in the majors, but also on any day could be in the showers by the 3rd.
I think a trade away from the bright lights and lethal lineups of NY and the AL East, to the cozier pastures of the NL Central would be a great revival for Burnett’s career. It could be a win, win situation.
Anything that Yankees get back aside from some minor salary relief would be a bonus. With 7 current starters, the Yankees need to free up some roster and payroll space. Burnett would be my personal choice as the ideal pawn to be moved. Even with the Yankees having to eat 75% of his contract.
Hopefully something gets done within the next few days, as spring training is a mere week away.