Sorry I haven’t written lately — I was in the Carl Pavano Memorial MRI Tube the other day, and I’m still trying to get over it! Anyhow, congrats to the Yankees on clinching a postseason spot. It was funny trying to figure out what those celebratory hats said. I joked that the writing said, “No, we don’t know how A.J. Burnett got his black eye, either!”
Anyhow, the era of good feeling after the Yankees clinched a spot in the playoffs was pretty much ruined not long after Javier Vazquez took the mound last night. Hopefully, it will be the last start we will ever see of Javy in pinstripes. Come to think of it, he’d better not be on the postseason at all. I usually like being proven correct, but I take no pleasure in being right on thinking Vazquez would fail in the Bronx again. (I also wrote I’d rather have Carol Burnett than A.J. Burnett as a Yankee, a post that made me look foolish in 2009, but not quite so foolish this year! And Squawker Jon and I were right about A-Rod hitting 30 homers this season.)
The New York Post’s Joel Sherman wrote today that Javy “just might be the worst pitcher in Yankee history (thought before A.J. Burnett’ s contract is over, well, watch out). Vazquez certainly is the worst ever given a second chance by the organization.”
Alas, how quickly Carl Pavano is forgotten! $40 million for four years and nine wins has to be the worst. And I would also argue that A.J. Burnett is having an even worse year than Javy is. Vazquez is 10-10, with a 5.32 ERA. Brutal numbers, to be sure, but he was only supposed to be the #4 starter. Granted, he is making $10.5 million this year, but my expectations for him were so low, that I’m surprised he actually has 10 wins!
On the other hand, the Yankees are paying Burnett $16.5 million a year to…lead the league in hit batsmen? And the funny thing is that Joel Sherman argued just the other day that:
Never have the Yankees let anyone pitch this many innings (180 2/3) and be this wretched….
Burnett has failed to reach five innings 10 times now this season, which is three more than anyone in the majors. We are talking about failing to reach in the minimum requirement to earn a win in nearly one-third of his starts – and the Yankees are, of course, 0-10 in those games, including a 7-5 loss in Toronto last night. If you are looking for places in which they might have secured a few more wins to secure the best record in the AL begin with Burnett.
Instead, Burnett has lost 15 games all by his lonesome. That is the most losses by a Yankee since Melido Perez had 16 in 1992. But those Yankees weren’t very good. Perez actually lost 16 games with a 2.87 ERA. The last time a Yankee lost 15 games on a winning team was when Catfish Hunter went 17-15 for the 1976 AL champs. Hunter threw 298 2/3 innings and 21 complete games. He failed to go five innings just twice all year or one fewer time than he pitched 11 or more innings.
And I’m still wondering about A.J.’s black eye. Is this going to be like Dave Eiland’s leave of absence, where we’ll probably never hear the story? In Burnett’s case, it’s even more curious. How could nobody have leaked what happened by now? It’s a question for the ages.
Anyhow, I think A.J.’s year is worse than Javy, but your mileage may differ. Tell me what you think.