God damn you, AJ Burnett
As a lifelong New York Yankees fan, I was beyond excited when my beloved Yanks inked Burnett to a 5 year, $82.5 million deal during the 2008 offseason.
Looking back on it, that sentence seems absolutely ludicrous now.
Burnett stunk it up in epic fashion in pinstripes.
Burnett was 34-35 in 3 seasons with the Yankees, posted an ERA above 4.00 in each of those 3 seasons, and an ERA well above 5 in 2010 and 2011.
So, this past offseason, we managed to do what I NEVER thought we would be able to do with a pitcher making that kinda money that had sucked THAT bad for 3 consecutive seasons. We unloaded him. And on the surface, me and many others were ready to chalk the Pittsburgh Pirates acquisition of AJ Burnett up as another epic fail to the team that ionce let Barry Bonds walk.
We were wrong.
Burnett, after throwing a 1 hit, 2 walk, 8 strikeout shutout against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, is now 13-3 on the season, with a 3.27 ERA.
Just another talented player that couldn’t handle the pressure of the Big Apple and the 27 World Series banners you are expected to add on to every season? It certainly appears so, doesn’t it?
Burnett’s 13 wins equal the highest total he ever achieved in pinstripes, and are a total he has surpassed only once in his entire 13 year career. And it’s only August 1st. The 3.27 ERA he currently has is the lowest of his entire big league career.
Some will chalk it up to the National League hitters not being as good as the hitters Burnett faced in the American League. Some will chalk it up to PNC Park being much more of a pitchers’ park than Yankee Stadium. I chalk it up to AJ being able to just go out and pitch every 5th day for a team that doesn’t have a World Series or fail attitude, in a city where he doesn’t have to worry about being blasted by every newspaper and every talk radio station in the World’s biggest media market.
Burnett wasn’t the first talented player to come to the Yankees and fail to live up to expectations, and he sure as hell won’t be the last.
But god damnit, AJ. It sure would have been nice to see you put up these numbers in pinstripes.