Tuesday, February 21, 2012


In case you missed it, and if you want to see a positive view of the AJ Burnett era, read REFLECTING ON THE BURNETT ERA: THE POSITIVES. Now, we all know why Burnett is gone, and it’s not because his contract ran out. He was traded because, in Brian Cashman’s eye, he was not good enough to beat out a 35 year old pitcher who’s in the twilight of his career (Freddy Garcia), and a guy who is this close to be labeled a bust by some if he doesn’t contribute in 2012, especially after his brutal 2011 season (Phil Hughes). So, without any further adieu, let’s look at the long list of negatives during the AJ Burnett era…Last two seasons: Burnett was solid in 2009, his first year in Pinstripes, but he was brutal the final two seasons…

2010-2011: 21-26, 5.20 ERA, 84 ERA+, 1.47 WHIP, 28 HBP, 41 WP

Inability to close out ’09 ALCS and World Series: The Yankees were up 3-1 in both the ALCS against the Angels and against the Phillies in the World Series, but AJ had to shit the bed both times, thus keeping the door open for the opposing clubs. In Game 5 of the ALCS, Burnett allowed three runs to score before recording an out, and four runs to score before recording the second out of the game. He did settle down, though, going into the seventh inning with a 6-4 lead. But following a single and a walk to lead off the inning, Burnett was pulled and Phil Hughes ended up getting the loss in relief.

The Yanks were one win away from clinching their 27th World Series title against the Phillies and AJ Burnett was once again on the bump to try to close out the series, and once again, he failed to do so. This start was much worse than his Game 5 start against the Angels, as Burnett finished with a line of 2 innings pitched on four hits, four walks, and six runs. He allowed three runs to score before recording an out; on a Chase Utley three-run home run. And yes, I know both of these games didn’t come back to haunt the Yankees, but when the guy admits he “Let the city down” (Read HERE) you know you have a problem.Against the Red Sox: Nothing to see here, just a 10 start sample of how bad AJ was against the Red Sox in his Yankee career…

10 starts, 1-4, 54 IP, 7.33 ERA, 43/30 K/BB, 2.16 HR/9

August 3, 2011: I don’t know about the rest of you, but this was the game where I lost all my confidence in AJ Burnett and wanted him off the team. In case you don’t remember, the Yanks were playing the Chicago White Sox that night and AJ Burnett was staked to a 13-1 lead in the fourth inning and failed to complete five innings. How in the world can you have a 12 run lead and not get out of the fifth inning? I have no idea, but AJ Burnett found a way to accomplish that. Burnett’s final line that night: 4.1 innings, 13 hits, and seven runs on three strikeouts.

Punched Clubhouse doors: After allowing three runs in the first two innings on July 17, 2010 against the Tampa Bay Rays, AJ Burnett slammed his hands against a set of double doors between innings down in the clubhouse. The trainers saw that his hands were cutup, but Burnett lied and told them he fell down the stairs. The trainers believed him, and he was allowed to go out for the third inning. In said third inning, Burnett hit Evan Longoria with a pitch to start the frame, followed by a wild pitch, then a base hit to drive home the fourth run before he was mercifully pulled. After the game, Burnett apologized about lying about the ordeal and said he let the team down. No kidding, AJ. Read the entire story HERE.Black Eye: This isn’t quite a negative, in terms of Burnett’s result on the mound on September 17, 2010 (7 innings, three runs), but it’s certainly not a positive. To this day we still have no idea how he got the black eye or when he got it, so let the conspiracy theories begin (or in this case, continue). But don’t sit here and tell me a teammate of Burnett’s purposely gave him the black eye. That’s just not how the Yankees do business, and I think if that really happened we’d know the full details by now.Supposed spat with Joe Girardi: This one is still pretty fresh in our memories, as it happened last August. AJ Burnett once again pitched a clunker against the Minnesota Twins, and was pulled after recording just five outs with a lineup that was pretty weak, to say the least. And when Girardi pulled him, Burnett turned back and it looked as though he said something that’s not quite family friendly. Watch the clip HERE. Burnett also went into the clubhouse after being pulled before pitchers are really normally supposed to, according to the unwritten rules of the game, which is a big no-no.

There you have it, the list of negatives during the AJ Burnett era. I have a limit of words I can type, so I had to stop here, but I could go on. Either way, Burnett needed to go, and I’m glad he’s gone. No hard feelings for him, but I put the team ahead of any other individual player, and the best fit for the team was for Burnett to be pitching elsewhere.

--Jesse Schindler, BYB Staff Writer

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