AJ Burnett Signs For 5 Years
AJ Burnett is an interesting choice. Out of the Lowe/Burnett/Sheets troika, he is the most capable strikeout pitcher. The thing about a strikeout pitcher is that he is less affected by the vagaries of the defense behind him, and so goes in some ways to address the problem of bad defense the Yankees have got, even if it is a small fraction.
Derek Lowe might have been the more conservative choice given how durable he has been, but he is older too. Ben Sheets on the other hand is 2 years younger but with a much worse health record than Burnett. Being a ground ball pitcher, he would have been affected greatly by playing in front of the Yankee infield defense.
Going back to the RLYW’s wonderful CAIRO projection chart of the Free Agents, the Yankees have added CC’s 5.5 and Burnett’s 3.7wins on to the pitching ledger. Of course Moose is retired and Pettitte might not come back at $10m per year to be a No. 4-5 starter, in which case they’re losing 6.1 wins out of the 9.2 gained.
That’s not counting on how many wins above replacement that might come out of CMWang, Joba and Hughes. This CAIRO projection sheet has them at about 2.1, 2.9, and 1,4 respectively. So the front end starters are a combined 6.4 +9.2=15.6 wins above replacement at this moment in time. In a sense, that is just how good the 2 pitcher additions are, relative to what they already have.
There is a lot of noise out in the bloggosphere that the Yankees need a bat to go with all this, and so are pushing for a Teixeira deal. Considering Mark Teixeira is a 4 win above replacement investment for about 180m 6 years, it seems this is the smart-money move afterall.