Look, I know I discussed the topic of an A.J. Burnett for Travis Hafner deal the other day.  Now, if you’re listening to rumors on Twitter, it sounds like something I’d qualify as an “insane rambling” is something that was seriously being considered.  To be fair, it’s likely the whole discussion was a tactic by the Yankees to get the Pirates to sweeten their offer.  And as it stands now, it looks like Hafner for Burnett is completely off the table.

Just in case, maybe my “final verdict” wasn’t strong enough.  Here are some major reasons why I hope this deal isn’t resurrected, zombie-style:

- Burnett is set to make $16.5 million each of the next two seasons.  Hafner is supposed to make $13 million in 2012, the last year of his contract.  So unless the Yankees are also sending some money the Indians’ way, this would increase payroll in 2012 and leave them with a $16.5 million albatross next year.

- Since Burnett would be under contract for 2013, he would be the only person on the roster with an assured salary next season.  You know, since the Indians must think the apocalypse is coming later this year.

- Burnett is 35, so his career is likely on a down swing, not an up swing at this point.

- In the past two seasons, he’s had an ERA north of 5.

- If you compare his stats with other cheaper, in-house options, he doesn’t provide any significant improvement.

- Kind of unpredictable from game to game, season to season, in the mold of Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez Heredia.

Only positives I can think of:

- He still strikes out quite a few people.

- Pretty durable…usually pitches close to 200 innings a year.

- A rotation that includes Burnett, Derek Lowe and Jon Garland would be the best rotation 2005 has to offer.

- Everyone (myself included) could finally stop pondering the old “if only Hafner was healthy for the entire year…”

So because I don’t want to come back to my computer later this evening and see that this deal is suddenly “back on the table,” let me just address the Indians’ front office for a moment.

Look, I know it has to be kind of disappointing to watch teams like the Detroit Tigers shop at Neiman Marcus, while you’re relegated to the Dollar General.  The idea that your pitchers will have to face 500+ pounds of slugger more than a dozen times this year would make anyone a little paranoid about their starting rotation.  To use an electronics metaphor, Dave Dombrowski just got the iphone 4S, while you’re left to purchase 20 broken iphone 3′s from ebay, hoping against hope that one of them will work and get you through the season.  Not to say that your “buy defective/forgotten things in bulk” plan can’t be a moderate success.  I’m just saying that maybe you shouldn’t be spending $16.5 million on damaged goods that another team seems pretty desperate to unload.  If some incredible deal falls out of the sky before the season starts, by all means, do what you have to do.  Just please don’t give up a viable bat (when you really need viable bats) for A.J. Burnett.



  • Will McIlroy says:

    Never knew you were so prescient, did you? Play the lottery?

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    I should! It’s like I’m the Miss Clio of crappy trade proposals!

  • Well, this makes the thought of the Pirates obtaining Burnett all the more palatable! Actually, the Pirates getting Burnett (assuming that the Yankees will be paying A LOT of his salary) sounds pretty good to us here in Piratesland. Of course, the Bucs will not be giving up someone like Haffner – they already decreed that Garrett Jones, for God’s sake, was off limits in this deal – so obtaining Burnett cannot possibly hurt the Pirates. As it is, he would probably be the #2 starter in the rotation. That says an awful lot about the state of the Pirates, much of it not good.

  • Ken says:

    Your logic is flawed in that the Yankees would probably pick up $6 Million per year of AJ’s salary. At $10 million a year you are saving money (hafner making $13 million) and getting a pitcher that will give you 200+ innings. On top of that, there is a good chance AJ just has an issue playing in NYC. Just look at Vasquez and even Pavano, both pitched very poorly in NYC but did very well anywhere else they pitched. It’s not as bad of a deal as you make it out to be.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    I’m not as familiar with the Pirates’ internal options, but I guess I feel the Indians can get someone equivalent for much less money in-house.

    I mentioned Pavano in the earlier story, and I do think Burnett will likely be better outside of New York. I think I’d be less against this if Burnett just had one year to go, like Hafner. For 2013, Carrasco will be back, and there may be someone else in the organization that steps forward. Plus I kind of don’t want to see the Indians help the Yankees off the hook for this one. Sometimes I feel like if they make these crappy deals, they should be stuck with them.