This morning’s Pinch Hitter, Delia, initially wrote her defense of Burnett before the Yankees restocked their rotation with Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda.
Obviously Burnett’s situation has changed since then — there are suddenly more than enough options to replace him in the rotation — but I think Delia’s point still stands: Even after back-to-back bad seasons, there positives to Burnett. He gives plenty of innings, has moments when he looks like a viable No. 2 or No. 3 starter, and he’s pitched well in key playoff games.
In some ways I agree with Delia on this point: The Yankees shouldn’t simply dump Burnett. Even when he’s ineffective, I think there is value to his innings, and I’m not sure the Yankees could actually get anything of value in return. I think it’s better to have an expensive innings-eater than to pay most of Burnett’s salary to get a non-prospect or a last-man-on-the-bench.
That said, now that the Yankees rotation is overflowing and there’s a legitimate hole at designated hitter, I can’t help wondering if the Yankees might be able to pull of a contract-for-contract trade for an overpaid hitter who could fill the DH void. Would you rather have Burnett for the next two years, or have Adam Dunn for the next three? How about Alfonso Soriano for the next three years, or Vernon Wells for the next three years at $21-million per year?
Burnett’s contact is obviously a bad one, but it’s not the only bad contract in baseball, and before demanding that he be banished elsewhere, consider what he can still provide, what he could be worth elsewhere and whether any of the alternatives is preferable.
What’s done is done. Burnett is signed through 2013, and one way or the other, the Yankees have to try to get something out of the last two years of that contract.
Associated Press photo