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Yankees Trade of A.J. Burnett is Addition by Subtraction: Fan’s View
On Friday, February 17, 2012, the New York Yankees traded pitcher A.J. Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two minor league players. The Yankees will pay $20 million of the $33 million left on Burnett's contract, which runs through 2013.
That means the Pittsburgh Pirates are paying A.J. Burnett $13 million over the next two years. For the Yankees, the trade of A.J. Burnett was a move of addition by subtraction. By clearing $13 million of Burnett's salary off the books, the Yankees now have room to sign a utility player and a left-handed bat.
A.J. Burnett's Major League Baseball Stats
In his major league career, A.J.Burnett has a record of 121-111, with a 4.10 ERA. With Yankees though over the last two seasons, Burnett has gone just 21-26 (.447), with an ERA of around 5.20.
The Yankees as a team have combined record of 192-132 (.593) in 2010 and 2011. So A.J. Burnett managed to win just 44.7% of his starts playing for a team that was winning over 59% of its games.
That's just a terrible record for a pitcher. I am huge New York Yankees fan, and the thing that always drove me crazy with A.J. Burnett was his control. Burnett has great stuff, but time and again he would get himself into trouble by walking batters. And often he would walk lousy hitters.
A.J. Burnett's Lack of Control Was Frustrating to Watch for Yankees Fans
Over the last two seasons, A.J Burnett walked 161 batters in 377 innings pitched. So Burnett was walking a batter in over 42% of the innings he pitched. That's a very high rate, and Burnett also threw 41 wild pitches in 2010 and 2011 combined. His control was just too bad for him to win over the last two seasons.
In return for A.J. Burnett, the Yankees got two minor league players, pitcher Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones.
Minor League Prospects Yankees Got From Pittsburgh Pirates for A.J. Burnett
Exicardo Cayones is a 20 year outfielder with zero power. He has hit one home run in 477 minor league at-bats. He's got an OK on-base percentage of .372, but he's a very marginal prospect who is a longshot to ever play for the New York Yankees.
Diego Moreno is a 25 year old pitcher with an 11-9 record and 2.41 ERA in 116 minor league games, nothing above AA. Moreno can strike out hitters, as he has struck out 9.8 batters per nine innings pitched in the minors. And he has decent control too, walking 2.3 batters per nine innings, for a very good strikeout to walk ratio of 4.24.
Moreno is a reliever and he can probably pitch on the major league level as a reliever for somebody one day, but it probably won't be for the Yankees. If Moreno was a lefty he'd already be in the majors with his stats, but he's a right-handed pitcher.
Trading A.J. Burnett is an Addition by Subtraction Move for the New York Yankees
The minor league players the New York Yankees got for A.J. Burnett though were secondary to our wanting to dump some of his salary, and to remove a pitcher from the rotation who who didn't have enough control over the last two years to win consistently for a great team.
I'll always be grateful to A.J. Burnett for the great Game Two he pitched for the Yankees in the 2009 World Series vs the Philadelphia Phillies when we really needed it. I'll also miss seeing Burnett smash a towel filled with shaving cream into the faces of Yankees players with walk-off hits, but his pitching has just been too awful over the last two years.
Getting rid of part of A.J. Burnett's salary, and removing a pitcher with little control from the rotation, was an addition by subtraction move for the New York Yankees.
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