Friday, December 12, 2008

What is A.J. Burnett Worth?

I was planning to do the next of these posts on Ben Sheets who I`m very curious about and may actually be a better option than Derek Lowe. However, the Yankees have signed A.J. Burnett so I thought I should do one on him. I don't like him but I guess I should do a more careful analysis to be fair. I`ve been wrong before.

Burnett, along with Ben Sheets, is seen as an ace with injury problems. Plenty of people are speculating about a possible super Yankees rotation with Burnett and Sabathia signed. However, the question is whether or not What Burnett can do while healthy is worth his long injury problems.

You know the drill by now, here`s his RCA numbers:

2006- 3.86 (57 runs in 134 innings)

2007- 3.13 (57 runs in 164 innings)

2008- 3.60 (89 runs in 222 innings)

I`m a little surprised by those 2007 numbers. For some reason I`ve always tought of him as being slightly overrated as a pitcher besides the injury thing. However, had he pitched the whole year and been a bit more lucky then he owuld have been a real Cy Young candidate. However, again their's the injury issue.

A replacement level pitcher would have put up these numbers:

2006- 5.50 (82 runs in 134 innings)

2007- 5.50 (100 runs in 164 innings)

2008- 5.50 (136 runs 222 innings)

So, now here's his monetary values for the past three years:

2006-25 runs, 2.5 wins, 13.75 million dollars

2007- 43 runs, 4.3 wins, 23.65 million dollars

2008- 47 runs, 4.7 wins, 25.85 million dollars

2007 and 2008 are easily worth his coming contract. However, he`s rarely going to be as good as he was in 2007 and he`s aslo rarely going to eat up as many innings as he did in 2008. He`s also going to have a few injury plagued years like 2006 where his contract just isn't worth it. At best he matches Derek Lowe but he's much less consistent.

The only positives I can take from this is that he could have some really dominating years where he just puts everything together. He also has succeeded in the AL East. 5 years just isn't worth it though and Derek Lowe would have been a much safer bet to deliver season at a similar quality to what we`re hoping for from Burnett.

5 years at about 16 million a year is not worth it for Burnett. Either Lowe or Sheets would have been better picks.


Anonymous said...

Agreed, not a disaster but a missed opportunity to get somebody better and a big mistake.