In This Corner: Have fun in Pitt, A.J.
As of Sunday night, it was official. Pittsburgh will pay $13 million of Burnett’s $33 million salary for 2012 and 2013.
The money the Yankees have left over is probably going to be used more effectively in finding a replacement for recently retired Jorge Posada, a player I’ll actually miss seeing on the field.
In pinstripes, Burnett was extremely expensive, but rarely valuable and seldom good. The only reason Yankees manager Joe Girardi kept him so long was because of one celebratory night – Oct. 29, 2009 – the night Burnett was worth every penny the franchise paid him.
That night in October, the 35-year-old right-handed pitcher took the World Series back from Phillies’ left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee in Game 2.
Burnett threw seven innings of four-hit, one-run, nine-strikeout ball that night, and the Yankees won 3-1 as they headed to Philly tied at one game each rather than down 2-0.
Girardi’s been hoping for another night identical to that (several, I’m sure), but the blowups and failures since then have done well to overpower Allan James’s one-time star pitching.
The argument can be made for a close second, though, most recently in Game 4 of the 2011 ALDS against the Detroit Tigers (which I’m still harping on/bitter about). But unsurprisingly, the new Pirate never regained his form, and it became more obvious it was time to strip him of his pinstripes.
The Pirates, who ended in fourth in NL Central in 2011 72-90, seem excited for their newest addition. It figures.
They’re the Pirates. Most baseball fans just look at them as a team with a nice stadium.
An argument could be made that Burnett may be more beneficial to them than he was to the Yankees, the main reason being the difference in leagues.
Burnett spent seven years with the Marlins from 1999 – 2005, during which he had 49 wins and 50 losses. During his time in the AL, which is a year less than he was with the Marlins, he had more wins (72), but more losses (61), too.
Moreover, his ERA was still better during his years in the NL than in the AL (3.73 and 4.39, respectively).
And let’s not forget his no hitter in 2001 (for those of you keeping score, he was still with the Marlins).
I just think he’ll fit more comfortably back in the NL, but that’s not to say his performance will be what it was in 2005.
No one can really know if the Pirates’ decision to trade for the aging righty will work in their favor. But I’ll be bold and say putting Burnett in black and gold will not make miracles happen for Pittsburgh. Based on his 2011 stats (11-11/5.15/173/1.43 31 home runs, .260 BAA), he’s not more impressive than the Pirates’ current starters, Jeff Karstens, James McDonald, Erik Bedard, Charlie Morton and Kevin Correia.
I wish Burnett the best of luck with the Pirates, but I just think his best days are behind him.