Saturday, February 18, 2012

Best wishes for AJ Burnett

Even though I was too often frustrated by AJ Burnett, I’m truly hoping for him to find success in his new baseball home.

Brian Cashman finally succeeded in trading Burnett to another team willing to take a chance on him. 
After three years of inconsistency, with flashes of the talent that led the New York Yankees to give him that humongous contract mixed in, the Yankees finally admitted what the rest of the baseball world probably already knew: that Burnett was never going to become the pitcher they thought he could be, at least not in New York.

I think Cashman deserves huge kudos for this trade, even though he is only getting marginal prospects in return. I’m actually surprised he persuaded the small-market Pirates to pay $13 million of the remaining $33 million for Burnett’s services, given his struggles in New York and the Yankees’ apparent desperation to move him. But just because Burnett could not succeed in the Big Apple does not mean he cannot do well in Pittsburgh. On the contrary, I think this trade could actually be great for him in a lot of ways, including eliminating the glare of the New York spotlight and leaving the tough American League East for the National League.

No matter his struggles, I never rooted against Burnett. I really did want AJ to succeed in New York, mainly because I always felt the Yankees would be a much better team if he ever could figure things out on the mound. And Burnett, despite his tantrums at times, seems to be a good guy, well-liked by his teammates and coaches and a mentor to young Ivan Nova. Perhaps Burnett could slide into a role as a wise elder in Pittsburgh, a role that will give him purpose and the strength to become a better pitcher.  

AJ, I wish you nothing but the best. 

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