An expensive station car

Assuming for a moment that the Yanks "overbid" offer will win Sabathia's affections, the Yanks are looking to make a very expensive offer for a station car:

The Yankees, according to several industry insiders, spent yesterday preparing an offer - perhaps a five-year deal worth about $80 million - for Toronto righty A.J. Burnett. This would come after they offered Milwaukee lefty CC Sabathia a six-year contract worth between $140 million and $145 million.
"It wouldn't surprise me if they went to five years with [Burnett]," a baseball executive said of the Yankees. "[Ryan] Dempster is going to sign back with the Cubs for four years and $13 million per, and Burnett is worth more than that."
Coming off a career-high in victories, the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder is easily the second-best pitcher on the free-agent market behind Sabathia, so $15 million to $16 million a season for four or five years isn't out of the question.

I can't wrap my feeble and fading brain around the concept of adding two pitchers for $220 million dollars. Not to mention, while I like Burnett and his stuff is certainly ace-worthy (at times), add me to the growing list of people who are really worried about his injury-riddled past. He has thrown 200+ innings three times in his career; twice during a contract year.

Having watched/followed many of Burnett's games this year, I noticed a trend: He's subject to that one bad inning. He can be absolutely cruising for 5 innings (with 7 K's, 2 hits) then give up 3 or 4 runs and not make it thru the 6th. Almost like Pettitte but with the high K rate. That K rate certainly is appealing, especially in the post-season, when a shut-down ace is needed.

Burnett has done very well against the AL East, particularly the Yanks. Over his career:

Versus NYY

11 games

  • ERA: 2.43
  • 77.2 IP, avg 7 IP/start
  • 78 K's, over 1 K/IP
  • WHIP of 1.036
  • Versus BOS:

    • 8 games
    • ERA: 2.56
    • 56.1 IP, avg 7+ IP/start
    • 53 K's, nearly 1 K/IP
    • WHIP of 1.179 (including IBB)

    Versus TB:

    • 16 games
    • ERA: 2.98
    • 117.2 IP, avg 7.1 IP/start
    • 123 K's, over 1 K/IP
    • WHIP of 1.062 (including IBB)

    For a more recent view of his performances in against these three team, here are his 2008 splits:

    Versus NYY:

    • 5 games
    • ERA: 1.64
    • 38.1 IP, avg 7.2 IP/start!
    • 43 K's, over 1.1 K/IP
    • WHIP of 1.064

    Versus BOS:

    • 4 games
    • ERA: 2.60
    • 27.2 IP, avg 7 IP/start
    • 24 K's, nearly 1 K/IP
    • WHIP of 1.227

    Versus TB:

    • 3 games
    • ERA: 3.15
    • 20.0 IP, avg 6.2 IP/start
    • 26 K's, over 1.3 K/IP (11.7 K/9IP)
    • WHIP of 1.400

    If you want to check out his performance by ballpark, please check here. Of note, Burnett has pitched three games IN Fenway and boasts a 0.40 ERA with only 9 hits allowed over 22.2 IP. Pretty fancy. Also, not a bad indicator about his mentality and lack of fear pitching in big, bad Fenway.

    In short, I like Burnett's bulldog approach, potentially dominating stuff and his physical size. I'm concerned extending him to five years. Maybe I'm gun-shy after the Pavano Experiment, but at least Burnett's trial-tested in the cauldron of the AL East. If I can get comfortable with the idea that Burnett will only pitch 27 starts a year rather than 33, I'll be happy with the signing, but I am not sure.

    Either way, he's a nice station car.