Saturday, August 13, 2011
Cashman obliged by launching into a spirited defense of A. J. Burnett, the high-priced, often disappointing starter for the Yankees who lately has found himself nominated to be the odd man out in a rotation that is about to go from six pitchers to five.
Those nominations are being made by members of the news media and sports talk radio callers, and Cashman, who over the last year has become increasingly blunt in his comments, made it clear he was not amused by any of it.
“He’s being treated differently publicly because he has money attached,” said Cashman, who spiced his remarks with a profanity. “So forgive him for saying yes to a contract. If you want to blame someone for his contract, blame me. But the man can still pitch.”
I realize it’s Cashman’s job to defend his players. But I say bullshit. I don’t think it’s the contract. It’s partially the chronic underachiever thing, where he’s always seemed to have the stuff to better than he was. Now that stuff has diminished and he hasn’t learned to compensate for it. It’s also partially the disaster potential in every inning no matter how well he’s pitched to that point. You just need to look at his last start for an example of that.
Seriously, does anyone really care about how much Burnett’s making? The only starter you can make a case for Burnett over in terms of results this year is Phil Hughes, and that’s because Hughes has been hurt and is working his way back. If Hughes can follow up his last start with a couple of good outings it gets that much harder to defend keeping Burnett in the rotation.
One wonders if the team would willingly piss away a chance in a postseason series by stubbornly starting Burnett when there are clearly better options. It wouldn’t surprise me.
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