Monday, February 20, 2012

Did The Yankees Sneaky Diss A.J. On His Way Out? (And My Final Words On A.J.)

Check out the A.J.-specific section of the Yankees' press release on the trade:

"Burnett, 35, was signed by the Yankees as a free agent on December 18, 2008, to a five-year contract. In his three seasons with the club, he went 34-35 with a 4.79 ERA (584.0IP, 311ER) in 99 games (98 starts). His 58 wild pitches recorded during his three-year stint with the Yankees (2009-11) were the most for any Major League pitcher over a three-season span since Tony Cloninger threw 62 wild pitches from 1964 through 1966, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

He posted an 11-11 record with a 5.15 ERA (190.1IP, 109ER) in 33 appearances (32GS) with the Yankees in 2011, setting career-highs in home runs allowed (31) and tying a career-high in earned runs allowed, while ranking first with a franchise-record 25 wild pitches – the most by any Major League pitcher in a single season since the start of the 2000s and the fifth most since 1900."

Fuckin' A, man.  Talk about a kick in the ass on the way out the door, huh?  Just skipping the World Series in 2009 and jumping straight to the wild pitches?  That's cold.  And then they follow it up with a more detailed breakdown of his 2011 mediocrity, making sure to mention the HR allowed, touching on the ER allowed, and just in case you forgot about them from the last paragraph, getting right back to the wild pitches.  The all-time high number of wild pitches.  I can't say I recall an instance where the Yankees felt it necessary to discuss a player's shortcomings during his time in pinstripes when issuing a press release confirming he was no longer a member of the team. 

And now my goodbye to A.J.  As a guy who bagged on him constantly and was always expecting the worst from him, I'm happy to see him go.  I don't really give a damn about somebody being a good guy in the clubhouse and a hard worker when the results aren't there to back it up, especially with pitchers.  And A.J. was not a good pitcher while he was with the Yankees.  That's how I feel, that's how I'm going to feel, and nobody is going to talk me out of that.  I'm not going to miss him at all, I would have hated if he was on the team this year, and after this post I am never mentioning him on this site again.  But the Yankees almost certainly don't win the 2009 World Series without him, and I'll never forget that World Series.  That also means I'll never forget about A.J.  I was nervous as hell for Game 2 and he sacked up and got it done.  For that I'll always be grateful, and for that I say good to luck you in Pittsburgh, A.J.  I truly do hope you have success there.

(Bon voyage, A.J. Two-Face.)

Mo Already In Camp

... And already talking about the future.  Cash made it seem yesterday like Mo was going to be a later arrival to Spring Training than he turned out to be.  He was in the clubhouse this morning when it opened to the media, and he had plenty to say about his future beyond this, supposedly his last, season:

“I know.  I know now. Definitely. I won’t let you know now, but I know.”

“It doesn’t depend on how I’m going to pitch. Always I want to do my job, but I’ve made my decision already.”

“Even if I save 90 games. Even if they want to pay as much money as they want to, any team, (it won’t change the decision).”

“Decisions like that are always hard. Always. They involve what you do and what you have done for 22 years. Decisions like that are always hard, difficult, but at the same time, they have to be made.”

“I know what I want to do after this. There’s a lot of things I want to do after baseball. I always tell you guys that. It’s something that everybody goes through.”

“If I wanted to become a manager I would continue playing until I can’t no more because you have to do the same thing, traveling and traveling.”

“This one is different. This is it. This one is my decision.”

Mo said he made the decision about "two or three weeks" ago, and from all those little quotes it certainly sounds like he's leaning towards this being his last season.  If that's the case, then at least he gave everybody plenty of notice so they can enjoy every opportunity they have to watch him this season. 

All quotes via Chad at LoHud

Waiting For Ibanez

With the A.J. trade completed last night, the only other remaining roster change should be the addition of a free agent DH to fill the lefty platoon spot in the lineup.  The talk for the past week has been that the Yankees were targeting Raul Ibanez for that role, and that talk intensified to an almost near certainty over this past weekend as Johnny Damon pulled out of contention.

I'm not a fan of spending money or a guaranteed roster spot on Ibanez, but in fairness to him his .256/.307/.440 line (.322 wOBA) against right-handed pitching last year was better than Damon's line of .255/.314/.401 (.313 wOBA).  Ibanez will also come a bit cheaper, somewhere in the $1-2 million range, although I still can't wrap my head around the thought of him being a better OF option than Damon.

With camp officially open and position players expected to officially report by this Saturday, and the A.J. trade finalized, the Ibanez signing should come soon.  Don't think I'm going to be putting up a doomsday clock for this move, though.

** UPDATE- 8:29 AM- Buster Olney is reporting that the the Yanks already have a deal in place with Ibanez, pending his passing a physical.  Contract is reportedly worth $1.1 mil. **