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?
If they go on to make this offer, will he accept it? I think that they’re almost sure to get him. It would be smart to put a deadline on this offer, because then it might keep the Yankees from offering a 5 year deal. If the Yanks miss out on CC Sabathia, they will have to turn to Burnett and will probably offer him something huge. It’s Burnett’s gamble if he decides not to take this offer. Seriously though, CC is going to end up in New York. The only teams possibly willing to challenge the Yankees’s offer are the Dodgers, Angels, and Giants. If any of them offer 120-130 million, the Yankees will up their offer to 160 million at least. Because of this information, I think Burnett will go on to sign with the Braves if the all important fifth year is offered.
Is it smart to offer 5 years? I don’t think so. This guy is very injury prone. I know everyone thinks that he is fine because he was healthy and very good last year with the Blue Jays. That is only 1 year, though. No one is talking about Ben Sheets, yet he has a better medical record and better stats. I recently wrote about how Sheets is a better all around pitcher than Burnett, despite drawing much less interest. Derek Lowe still makes the most sense out of all these pitchers. He is a solid, durable veteran innings-eater. I know he is getting older, but Lowe’s as much of a sure thing as any pitcher out there not named CC Sabathia. He also seems like he will cost less and will require a shorter term. I’ve been saying this for a while: AJ Burnett is not a smart signing.
I at least partly understand why the Braves would want to aquire Burnett. A rotation with Burnett and Vazquez added to it would give the Braves a much improved team. The leftover money could go toward resigning or replacing Will Ohman and signing one of the power outfield bats.
I don’t know if the Braves will make the offer, though. They are preparing to, but could always change their mind. It looks like they have become the frontrunners, either way.
First of all I want to say I’m sorry for not being able to post the last couple of days. I didn’t feel well, and couldn’t focus because of my headache. Now it’s time to get back to baseball, though.
All of the free agent talk for starting pitchers seems to be about CC Sabathia, Derek Lowe, and AJ Burnett. What about Ben Sheets? I would definately have Sabathia or Lowe instead, because those players have a track record of being healthy, but Sheets seems like he might be a better bargain than Burnett.
River Ave. Blues wrote a nice article summing up how Sheets has been more durable and a better pitcher than Burnett throughout both players’ careers. Yet, for some reason, Burnett is looking for a 5 year, 80 million dollar deal while Sheets is hopeful to get 3 years. When you look at all of the stats, Sheets is just a better pitcher than Burnett, and he will cost less money. No one realizes that Burnett’s ERA was over 4.00 last year, while Sheets had one in the low 3.00s. That’s what matters most, right? The amount of runs they give up.
Maybe AJ has better stuff, heck, maybe he has the best stuff in the MLB, but Sheets is also up there. Sheets has better control, better results, and a better health record. (not a good one, but better than Burnett’s)
Despite all of this, there aren’t many good fits for Sheets yet many fits for Burnett. The Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Oriols, and Braves all have some serious interest in the free agent hurler. No one has expressed interest in Sheets, yet. I still love the Red Sox fit, because it just makes too much sense for them. They have the rotation depth to afford an injury to Sheets. In that case, they could just hand the ball to Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, or Justin Masterson.
The Brewers also make sense if Sheets cannot find a team willing to pay a lot for him. The Brew-Crew know him, and could afford him.
Overall, I think he will sign with the Red Sox while the Yankees sign Burnett. Sheets will get 3 years, 42 million; Burnett will get 5 years, 80 million. Both players will have similar production next year, and the Red Sox will look like geniuses while the Yankees look stupid. Kind of like last year.
AJ Burnett is drawing a ton of interest on the open market. After opting out of his contract with the Blue Jays, he has 6 teams seriously interested in his services. The Yankees, Red Sox, Braves, Mets, Oriols, and Blue Jays all want him. Because of all the interested teams, Burnett will look for a 5 year deal while considering nothing else. The Yankees don’t want to go to 5 years, but I’m sure they’d change their mind if the Red Sox offer that term. I don’t think the Sox will either, though. They really don’t need Burnett, they just want to keep him out of New York. It would probably be smarter to pursue a reunion with Derek Lowe. He wants to come back to Boston, and would be cheaper than Burnett even though he is probably a better pitcher. The Braves would rather have Lowe, also. They will pursue Burnett, but it’s no secret that they’d rather have the veteran durability of Lowe. The Mets will probably not be able to afford Burnett if they give Francisco Rodriguez a big contract. Maybe they’ll be the team to give him 5 years for less money than the 16 million per year he will command. The Oriols would like to add him because he would make a really nice 1-2 punch when combined with Jeremy Guthrie. When some of their great pitching prospects come up, the Oriols will be in great position to compete. I guess I could see them going to 5 years, but I really have to squint. JP Riccardi, the GM of the Blue Jays, has said that he would consider going to 5 years for AJ. If they are the only team offering this term, they’ll probably be able to resign him. I really think in the end that some team will offer Burnett 5 years, and I’m predicting it will be the Yankees. How many times have they changed their minds? A lot, and I think they will this time, too.
If the Yankees are unable to sign 2 of CC Sabathia, Derek Lowe, and AJ Burnett, they will make an agressive bid for Mark Teixera. Not being able to sign two of those three is a very real possibility, despite what most Yankees’ fans say. Sabathia has pretty much said that he doesn’t want to play for the Yanks by not accepting their 6 year, 140 million offer yet. They seem unwilling to offer Burnett 5 years, but losing CC could change that. Lowe doesn’t want to go to New York either. If they sign one, they still have the money for Tex. I know they traded for Nick Swisher, but he could be moved to center field or to a different team. Tex would certainly fit in nicely in the middle of their lineup. Plus, there is the added bonus of keeping him away from the Red Sox. If the Yanks really want to add payroll they might be able to sign Sabathia, Tex, and Burnett. This could work if it were OK for the payroll to be in the 210 million range like it was last year. Or if they just backloaded contracts this idea could work. Overall, I think they’ll just end up spending their money on starting pitching while letting Tex go somewhere else.
The Red Sox have 30 million to spend without anything to spend it on. Their only holes: catcher and middle reliever. Niether position have superstars available that would take up 30 million. So if the Red Sox fill those holes cheaply, what else will they do? Mark Teixera has been a pretty popular rumor. I like this idea for them because it would take their lineup to a whole new demension while getting protection behind David Ortiz. Ortiz-Tex is just as good of a 3-4 punch as Ortiz-Manny Ramirez. Mike Lowell would have to be traded for this idea to come to fruition, but he should be moveable on a salary dump trade. Some team will take a chance on him. If they strike out on Tex, they could turn to starting pitching. I know that you aren’t hearing any rumors about it, but CC Sabathia could be an intriging free agent for two big reasons. 1: He could make them the unquestioned best team in the MLB, and 2: He won’t become a Yankee. They seem unhappy about the price, though, so don’t expect to see CC in Red Sox next summer. The next tier of starters are all possible. The Sox will be in the bidding for Derek Lowe, AJ Burnett, and Ben Sheets. Lowe has familiarity which makes him the most attractive; you can rest assured he won’t fall apart under the pressure of Boston. Burnett is also a target because the Yankees want him. He could help their team out a ton. If they miss out on Burnett and Lowe, they could turn to Sheets. They might be the best fit for him because it won’t kill them if he gets injured since they have such great depth. It is very possible that they don’t land anyone because they don’t feel they have to overpay since they don’t have a need at any of these positions. It is also possible that they add Teixera and a starter. Let’s say that Tex takes 20 million per year and the starter takes 16 million per. That would be 36 million, but after aquiring Tex they must trade Lowell and his 12 million. If they bring in Teixera along with either Lowe or Burnett, they will be a very tough team to beat in 2009 and should challenge for the world series again, let alone the AL East.
With 28 million to spend and some serious holes, they Mets will be very busy this offseason. Starting pitching, closer, and middle relievers are their holes. There are two directions the team could choose to go in. Here they are.
- Sign Francisco Rodriguez to a 4 year, 52 million dollar deal. K-Rod still breaks a record, just doesn’t get the 75 million he’s been asking for. It takes 13 million per year. With the remaining 15, they sign a middle reliever such as Juan Cruz or Brandon Lyon for 4 million per. That leaves 11 million to aquire a decent back of the rotation starting pitcher. Oliver Perez, Jon Garland, Paul Byrd, Jason Marquis, Edwin Jackson, and Andy Sonnanstine could be options. With any remaining money they sign an extra reliever or just save the money for July.
- Sign Derek Lowe or AJ Burnett for 4 years, 64 million. So 16 million per year. With the extra 12, they sign either Brian Fuentes or Kerry Wood to close. Anything left over is used on middle relievers
So pick whichever one you like best. Note that money could always be moved through a trade of a current reliever. Scott Schoenweis for examle could be traded because of Pedro Feliciano becoming the primary left handed reliever. Duarner Sanchez and Aaron Heliman are trade possibilities, also. The Mets are going to imporve their team to make it a very competitive NL East. The defending champs: the Phillies, of course the Mets, and the Braves whom will likely improve their team a ton through free agency. It should be a lot of fun to watch.
The Braves have 45 million to spend in an attempt to fix the team that won only a mere 72 games last year. Their main needs: starting pitching and outfield help. Earlier, I wrote that the Braves are out of the Jake Peavy market. Since that is over, I expect them to look toward free agency to fill their holes. They won’t go after CC Sabathia, but Derek Lowe, Ryan Dempster, and AJ Burnett are good options. Bigger market teams like the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, and Cubs will be in on these guys, but the Braves can spend more than all of them. (if the Yankees sign Sabathia first) They might even decide to pursue two of the three. The goal here seems to be respectable in ’09, but truly competing for a world series in ’10. Both Burnett and Lowe will probably get deals in the 4 year, 64 million range. Burnett already has an offer; the Blue Jays want him back for 4 years, 54 million. That won’t get it done. Dempster seems likely to stick with the Cubs, but then again I’m not sure if they’ll go all in. If the Braves offered 64 million, they’d probably get him. The Cubs don’t feel they have to overpay because they don’t have as big of a need at starting pitcher. In the end, I think Dempster gets a bigger offer but accepts the Cubs’ cheaper one. The Yankees could go crazy and offer Burnett up to 5 years, 80 million. They would definatly get him for that amount. Lowe is more likely, because the Yanks will be out of the bidding by then. The Red Sox might be tough to compete against because they are Lowe’s prefered destination. Hopefully for the Braves sake, the Red Sox don’t get involved. If the Mets sign Francisco Rodriguez, they won’t be able to offer the amount other teams could. They aren’t that big of a factor. The Braves could just pursue a cheaper free agent if they can’t get two top-of-the-rotation starters. Jon Garland is an option; so is Oliver Perez.
If the Braves don’t add two starters, they could turn to outfield help. Pat Burrell is an option if they can afford him. Raul Ibanez might make more sense. If they really want to spend, Adam Dunn is possible. Bobby Abreu might be looked into. Through trade, Jermane Dye and Magglio Ordonez are options if they are avialable. Overall, it looks like the Braves will be a solid team next year, but 2010 is the time where they will be really good because their prospects will be in the majors, and Tim Hudson would be back from injury.
I used to think that the Yankees will sign one big starting pitcher (most likely CC Sabathia) and then resign either Mike Mussina or Andy Pettitte. Well, it’s possible that the Yankees go out and sign two top-of-the-rotation arms. Obviously, Sabathia is their #1 target, but they’d like to combine him with either Derek Lowe or AJ Burnett. There have been reports that Lowe doesn’t want to go to New York, but I’m sure if the Yanks offer enough money that he’ll change his mind. Burnett seems like a more likely target. He has AL East experience, and has said he would be fine playing for the Yankees. Since they do have 50 million tp spend, they could easily entice either player to join Sabathia in the Big Apple. Just think of how nasty a 1-2-3 punch of CC Sabathia-Chein-Ming Wang-AJ Burnett/Derek Lowe would be in a playoff series. With that kind of talent, I don’t find it likely they miss the post season again.
The Orioles are considering signing a shortstop this offseason. Rafael Furcal, Orlando Cabrera, and Edgar Renteria could all be possible additions. I don’t really like the idea of the Oriols making any big free agent signings, but I understand what they’re thinking. This player would stay around while they’re contending. Orlando Cabrera is the only reasonable target to me. Rafeal Furcal will cost way too much. Edgar Renteria would only want a one or two year deal, so he won’t be around by the time they are competing. Cabrera won’t cost too much and he’s better than Rents. However, I think they should abandoned this idea and continue their rebuilding process. Trade Brian Roberts or sign him to an extension, extend Nick Markakis, and if they have an itch to spend some money, go after AJ Burnett. He would make a lot of sense for them if other teams get out bid.