Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An expensive station car

For those of you who don't rely on mass transit to get to the office, you might not be familar with the concept of a "station car". A station car is (usually) a second car that a family owns that is used almost exclusively to shuttle back and forth to the train/bus station. It's also not usually glamorous, dent-free, freshly washed, or from this decade*. The most basic and elemental form of transport.

* if this describes your everyday car, hold your head high and don't send me any nasty emails. Use that bucket of bolts to your advantage. Park really close to that BMW or Mercedes. Cut in front of that Range Rover who was waiting for that parking spot that you want. Merge signs to not concern you.

Living where I do, I sometimes see station cars that I'd easily swap for my car. Good for those folks doing that well, I guess. I generally see it as a foolish expense done to make a statement, but either maybe I'm more practical than my neighbors or they're making that much more than me.

Assuming for a moment that the Yanks "overbid" offer will win Sabathia's affections, the Yanks are looking to make a very expensive offer for a station car:

The Yankees, according to several industry insiders, spent yesterday preparing an offer - perhaps a five-year deal worth about $80 million - for Toronto righty A.J. Burnett. This would come after they offered Milwaukee lefty CC Sabathia a six-year contract worth between $140 million and $145 million.
"It wouldn't surprise me if they went to five years with [Burnett]," a baseball executive said of the Yankees. "[Ryan] Dempster is going to sign back with the Cubs for four years and $13 million per, and Burnett is worth more than that."
Coming off a career-high in victories, the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder is easily the second-best pitcher on the free-agent market behind Sabathia, so $15 million to $16 million a season for four or five years isn't out of the question.
I can't wrap my feeble and fading brain around the concept of adding two pitchers for $220 million dollars. Not to mention, while I like Burnett and his stuff is certainly ace-worthy (at times), add me to the growing list of people who are really worried about his injury-riddled past. He has thrown 200+ innings three times in his career; twice during a contract year.

Having watched/followed many of Burnett's games this year, I noticed a trend: He's subject to that one bad inning. He can be absolutely cruising for 5 innings (with 7 K's, 2 hits) then give up 3 or 4 runs and not make it thru the 6th. Almost like Pettitte but with the high K rate. That K rate certainly is appealing, especially in the post-season, when a shut-down ace is needed.

Burnett has done very well against the AL East, particularly the Yanks. Over his career:

Versus NYY
  • 11 games
  • ERA: 2.43
  • 77.2 IP, avg 7 IP/start
  • 78 K's, over 1 K/IP
  • WHIP of 1.036
Versus BOS:
  • 8 games
  • ERA: 2.56
  • 56.1 IP, avg 7+ IP/start
  • 53 K's, nearly 1 K/IP
  • WHIP of 1.179 (including IBB)
Versus TB:
  • 16 games
  • ERA: 2.98
  • 117.2 IP, avg 7.1 IP/start
  • 123 K's, over 1 K/IP
  • WHIP of 1.062 (including IBB)

For a more recent view of his performances in against these three team, here are his 2008 splits:

Versus NYY:

  • 5 games
  • ERA: 1.64
  • 38.1 IP, avg 7.2 IP/start!
  • 43 K's, over 1.1 K/IP
  • WHIP of 1.064

Versus BOS:

  • 4 games
  • ERA: 2.60
  • 27.2 IP, avg 7 IP/start
  • 24 K's, nearly 1 K/IP
  • WHIP of 1.227

Versus TB:

  • 3 games
  • ERA: 3.15
  • 20.0 IP, avg 6.2 IP/start
  • 26 K's, over 1.3 K/IP (11.7 K/9IP)
  • WHIP of 1.400
If you want to check out his performance by ballpark, please check here. Of note, Burnett has pitched three games IN Fenway and boasts a 0.40 ERA with only 9 hits allowed over 22.2 IP. Pretty fancy. Also, not a bad indicator about his mentality and lack of fear pitching in big, bad Fenway.

In short, I like Burnett's bulldog approach, potentially dominating stuff and his physical size. I'm concerned extending him to five years. Maybe I'm gun-shy after the Pavano Experiment, but at least Burnett's trial-tested in the cauldron of the AL East. If I can get comfortable with the idea that Burnett will only pitch 27 starts a year rather than 33, I'll be happy with the signing, but I am not sure.

Either way, he's a nice station car.

1 comment:

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Bulldog or no bulldog, he's a significant risk. Then again, all pitchers are. Too bad when he's on the Yankees, he can no longer pitch against them.

In all seriousness, if you need a front-line guy for the AL, he's not your ace. He can be, but for whatever reason, he isn't. He's a decent number two and great number three. Then again, if the Yankees get CC and Lowe, then Burnett is really the four guy isn't he?