To complete their dream rotation, the Yankees have signed AJ Burnett to a 5 year, 82.5 million dollar contract. CC Sabathia and AJ get a combined total of 243.5 million from the Yankees. I think that both signings will look bad at the end of the contract. 5 years for Burnett is just way too much. Let alone the 16.5 million per year that he receives. I knew that some team was going to overpay for him, and it might as well be the Yanks because of their gigantic payroll, but it still doesn’t look good. I debated about how Ben Sheets was a more healthy pitcher and how he was also better when he was healthy here. I still think that Sheets would’ve been a better signing for the Yankees even if he got the same 82.5 million that Burnett got. But, they are the richest franchise in the MLB, so I guess they can afford to pay a lot more for a slightly better player, if AJ is even better than Sheets.
Talking about 2009, though, it looks like the Yankees are going to be a very tough team to stop. A rotation of Sabathia – Wang – Burnett – Chamberlain – Hughes would be completely sick. They might even sign another pitcher like Andy Pettitte to take Hughes’s spot in the rotation. Even though we still don’t know what the Red Sox and Rays are going to do, it is apparent that it will be a very tight race for the AL East. You could pick any of these teams out of a hat and I would believe you. It looks like there’s going to be some great baseball to watch in 2009.
Now that CC and AJ are under contract, who else will the Yankees pursue? Only 10 million is left in the case the Yankees stay at 200 million, but they could always raise payroll for the right players. It was at 215 million last year.
I know they say that they’re not going to sign Mark Teixeira, but that could change very quickly if the Red Sox pursue him. I still doubt they can match the offers of the Angels, Nationals, Orioles, and aforementioned Red Sox, but you never know.
Manny Ramirez is a huge dark horse possibility. It looks like the Dodgers aren’t terribly interested, and the market is very slow. Hank Steinbrenner wants him, and he usually gets what he wants. In the case of a Manny aquisition, Hideki Matsui would be traded. The Yanks would have to toss in some money, but it could still work. They would be shoving it in the Red Sox face if they sign Manny, and Ramirez would be the perfect consolation prize to the Red Sox signing Tex. On top of all that, Manny would be the clutch player that could come in and save the Yanks in the postseason while taking pressure off of Alex Rodriguez. This makes a lot of sense if it can be afforded.
Unless one of Manny or Tex is signed, it looks like they will sign a starter. Pettitte looks like their #1 target, while Oliver Perez or Ben Sheets could be their backup plan. It seems like they would like a short term deal. I doubt Derek Loe will wear pinstripes for this reason. The Yanks could aquire this 4th starter and/or a center fielder. Mike Cameron or Randy Winn could be had. I really like the Cameron idea. Cameron for Melky Cabrera would make a ton of sense for both teams. The Brewers create even more payroll to spend on pitching while aquiring a young center fielder with some upside. Cameron could be a stopgap for Austin Jackson in New York. This makes a lot of sense, but the Yanks might not be able to afford both Cameron and Pettitte. I wouldn’t put it past them, though, because they are the Yankees.
It is going to be a very tight race in the AL East no matter what Rays, Red Sox, or Yankees do.
P.S. Now that Burnett won’t become a Brave, will they revisit talks for Jake Peavy?