In the past offseason, A.J.
Burnett was handed a 5-year $82.5 million contract to leave the Toronto Blue
Jays for the New York Yankees. As
with many of the rash, big-money moves that the Yankees make, it hasn’t paid
off, and the absence of Burnett opened a spot for an cheaper, better pitcher in
A.J. Burnett, to put it
mildly, has struggled this year.
2008: 4.07 ERA, 9.39 K/9, 3.5
BB/9, 2.69 K/BB, 0.77 HR/9, 1.34 WHIP, .328 BABIP, 70.5% LOB%, 3.45 FIP
2009: 4.29 ERA, 8.21 K/9,
4.34 BB/9. 1.89 K/BB, 1.16 HR/9, 1.41 WHIP, .295 BABIP, 75.2%, 4.55 FIP
Perhaps I should re-name this
post The Not-So Strange Case Of A.J. Burnett
Following a career year,
Burnett’s numbers regressed dramatically.
His strikeout rate has come down, his walk rate has gone up, and his
homerun rate has gone up. This is
even more impressive considering the fact that his BABIP shows he was unlucky
in 2008, and back to normal in 2009.
Maybe he just has Yankee-Stadium-itis.
Anyhow, up in Toronto, the
‘Jays are paying a rookie who they were criticized for drafting, approximately 16.1
million dollars less than Burnett, to pitch better than Burnett.
A.J. Burnett 2009: 4.29 ERA,
8.21 K/9, 4.34 BB/9. 1.89 K/BB, 1.16 HR/9, 1.41 WHIP, .295 BABIP, 75.2%, 4.55
Ricky Romero 2009: 3.95 ERA, 6.85
K/9, 3.69 BB/9, 1.86 K/BB, 1.05 HR/9, 1.44 WHIP, .308 BABIP, 4.47 FIP
Stay tuned as the Yankees
free spending continues to carry them to their doom…
After this season, one of the Cubs’ top starting pitchers, Rich Harden becomes a free agent. Harden is one of many pitchers who show an ability to dominate when healthy, but due to injury concerns, cannot go 6, 7 innings consistently. Harden was superb in 2008 for the Cubs, going 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA, and a 0.97 WHIP in 12 starts after being acquired at the trade deadline, however, injury concerns caused him to throw only 71 innings for Chicago, not quite 6 innings per start.
Harden has had an up-and-down 2009, complete with HR struggles, and back issues. Through 19 starts this year, Harden is 7-7 with a 4.41 ERA, and a 1.35 WHIP. His high ERA and WHIP are products of a high BABIP, and a regression from a low BABIP in 2008. Despite his struggles, Harden has shown almost identical strikeout and walk rates in 2008 and 2009.
With all the injuries the Cubs have had this year, and the fact that Harden has dominated in his combined full season with the Cubs, it is necessary that the Cubs re-sign Harden as he hits free agency. However, with Harden’s injury history, the Cubs, or any team for that matter, should commit to a deal longer than two-years. The optimal deal would be a 2-year $12-16 million contract, but who knows what Harden will demand, or receive with all his potential. The Cubs do not have a player who could step in take over Harden’s rotation spot, which is why they must re-sign him this offseason.
- Alex Rios and the Blue Jays
Temperental bust, awarded a 7-year/$70 million, heavily backloaded contract, based on one good year. Rios has shown that his ceiling is only a 20/20 player. He’ll lose part of that speed over time, for sure. If the Blue Jays hang onto him, which seemed to be their only choice because of his contract, they would eventually be paying 12.5 million dollars for a solely above-average, hitter and an average fielder. But now the unthinkable has happened. A MLB team, likely the White Sox, has claimed Rios on waivers. The Blue Jays now have ’till 1:30 ET tomorrow to trade Rios to the claiming team, or let him go to the claiming team for nothing. This is a golden opportunity for the Jays to shed payroll, they should just let Rios go. Why any team would want Rios is just puzzling. Once again, a golden opportunity to let Rios walk away.
July. One month of endless speculation and trades. Ended by the trade deadline on July 31st. It’s over. Finally. I have decided to recap what each team did at the deadline. First the AL by division, then later the NL.
All the talk through the offseason revolved around what would be a race for the ages in the 2009 AL East. There were three teams, the revamped, “more lavish spending than ever” Yankees; the steady Red Sox, who didn’t know the meaning of the word collapse; and the sentimental favorite Rays, who had come out of nowhere to land the 2008 pennant. In April the discussion revolved around the Red Sox hot start, the Rays up-and-down performance, and the last-place Yankees. In May it was the Sox staying steady, the Yankees starting to find some cohesion, and the Rays meandering along the .500 line. In June the Yankees and Red Sox were going head-to-head at the top of the division, while the Rays were making a little-noticed push toward the top. Now in July, the race is neck to neck. But if this seems crazy, then just imagine what 2010 will be.
Not only will the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays be in the division hunt, but also the Blue Jays and Orioles. 2010 is the arrival date for Orioles top pitchers Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, and Brian Matusz, all three will join ace Jeremy Guthrie, and sinkerballer Brad Bergesen to make a strong rotation. Brad Snyder could join the O’s at first base should Aubrey Huff leave in free agency. These players would join Baltimore’s core four of LF Nolan Reimold, CF Adam Jones, RF Nick Markakis, and DH Luke Scott. These players would put Baltimore a bullpen arm away from contention.
The Blue Jays with their hoard of young pitchers, and hitters, such as Aaron Hill, Adam Lind and Travis Snider, have showed flashes of brilliance this year, and could be strengthend even more should they deal ace Roy Halladay for a kings ransom of prospects.
If a three team race in 2009 is great, then what about a five team battle in 2010?
Before I get to the main subject of today’s post, a few quick notes…
- Congratulations To Red Sox Pitcher Jon Lester For Taking A Perfect Game Into The 7th
Jon Lester is a success story to many. A miraculous recovery from cancer, pitching again, winning the last game of the 2007 World Series, and finally pitching a no-hitter in 2008. Lester’s story runs almost parallel with another player’s: Dave Dravecky. At the beginning off the 1988 season, Dravecky had a cancerous desmoid tumor removed from his pitching arm, along with half of the deltoid muscle, and freezing the humerus bone. On August 10, 1989, Dravecky made a remarkable return to the majors, pitching 8 innings, and giving up three runs. However tragedy struck in his next start, Dravecky’s humerus bone snapped while he was delivering a pitch, ending his career. Let’s hope that Lester’s career won’t mirror Dravecky’s that closely!
- Chad Tracy, Stephen Drew, Chris Young, and Eric Byrnes, You Should Be Ashamed
Diamondbacks pitcher Max Scherzer has a .667 OPS, horrible, right? What else would you expect from a pitcher? Four D-back starters, 1B Chad Tracy, SS Stephen Drew, CF Chris Young, and RF Eric Byrnes, have lower OPS’s than Scherzer! The D-backs offense should be ashamed.
es (257), Mets (286) and Cardinals (351) skipper becomes the first person in big league history to have to reached the milestone and also have at least 2,000 hits as a player.
Why are the Cubs tanking again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Today, I am going to examine the three leading candidates for the AL Cy Young Award, but first…
- Another Day, Another Mets Injury
This was the Mets’ lineup last night, Angel Pagan CF, Luis Castillo 2B, David Wright 3B, Gary Sheffield LF, Fernando Tatis 1B, , Fernando Martinez RF, Omir Santos C, Ramon Martinez SS, Livan Hernandez P. Besides Daniel Murphy getting the night off, starters Brian Schneider (C), Carlos Delgado (1B), Jose Reyes (SS), Ryan Church (RF), and the newest starter to go down, Carlos Beltran, (CF).
- Early American League Cy Young Candidates
- RHP Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
Halladay matches up almost completely with another Cy Young candidate, the Royals’ Zack Greinke. Halladay is tied with Greinke in Wins (8), Winning Percentage (.889), and Innings Pitched (75.0). However, Halladay is second in ERA, WHIP, Complete Games, and Shutouts, in all of which he is second to Greinke. Halladay has Cy Young caliber numbers, and if Greinke fell over the edge of the Earth, Halladay would win easily.
2. RHP Justin Verlander, Tigers
Just one year after leading the league in losses, Verlander has seemingly rediscovered his strikeout power that enabled him to be the 2006 AL Rookie Of The Year, and one of the top 5 pitchers in the AL in 2007. Verlander even has a flukily high BABIP (batting average on balls in play) working against him, and has surely contributed to his 3.55 ERA. Verlander’s strikeout numbers will appeal to the average awards voter, but right now, this race is between Halladay, and Greinke.
3. RHP Zack Greinke, Royals
What is there to say about Greinke? Through 10 starts he has an ERA under 1, he leads the majors in every major statistical category; if voting was today, he’d win the Cy Young easily, and maybe the MVP award as well.