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.