Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yanks, Sox to wage war for Burnett?

Here we go again.

According to an industry source, Boston plans to be a major player for A.J. Burnett, one of the pitchers the Yankees are targeting along with CC Sabathia to bolster their starting rotation. Derek Lowe, another arm coveted by the Bombers, is also on Boston's radar.
I honestly can't see the Sox going all out for Burnett. Not with what it will likely take to get him, both in terms of years (at least 4, likely 5) and dollars (at a minimum $13.5m per, greater than the $13m that Dempster just got over 4 years). Boston seems to value flexibility more than the Yanks do, probably because their pockets, while miles deep, do have a bottom. I can see Lowe returning to the Sox, though.

Call me crazy, but this reeks of an awful déjà vu: The battle the Yanks and Sox had over both Jose Contreras (which brought the "Evil Empire" moniker to the Bronx) and Carl Pavano. Remember, it was just 4 years ago when the Yanks were giddy to sign Pavano after a long tug-of-war with Boston. Remember, too, the good feelings each side had back then:
"Since I was seven years old, I always dreamed of playing for the Yankees, so this is a dream come true," said Pavano, a native of Southington, Connecticut -- about two hours from Yankee Stadium.

"My heart was always with this team,"
Pavano added. "I felt this was my best situation, not only having my family here but the winning tradition. Who doesn't want to play for the Yankees?"
I feel sick. Just re-reading those quotes by Pavano, four years and $40 million later, rings so awfully hollow, so fake.

I'm not calling Burnett "Pavano II", but the battle between the Yanks and the Sox, if true, always leaves me feeling queasy. There's nothing about Burnett that would seem to indicate that he'd take less to go to any particular team. This guy did opt out of his BlueJays contract to seek a bigger, longer term deal. He still hasn't accepted the Jays extension offer, which is for 4 years and $54 million. Burnett has proven his ability to handle the AL East, something Pavano never did. That's a good thing. Except that I have that "even if we win, we lose" feeling.

I still can't see the Sox extending Burnett to five years when they can have Lowe for three.


tadthebad said...

Jason, please, I'm begging here, take Burnett. I'd be happier if the Sox took the pitcher who has a run of several seasons pitching more than 200 innings. How many such seasons does Burnett have, 3? Let the Yanks overpay for him.

Julio said...

One important, but likely not mentioned, consideration is that AJ Burnett was a Marlin when John Henry owned the team. Stars like Josh Becket and Mike Lowell and scrubs like Hector Almonte wore teal before their Red Sox gear.

The number of players who got checks from John Henry as Marlins and Red Sox makes it likely that John Henry plays a bigger part in player acquisition than anyone acknowledges. Red Sox fans should not view this as a negative since John Henry made his billions as a "stats geek". That said, the Red Sox interest is higher than many would think.