Cashman on Burnett, Mets vs. Yanks for Pedro in ’97, Overpaid Selig, Nick Swisher Album, Matt Harvey and Learning from Generation K, Johan Santana’s Future

Cashman on Burnett, Mets vs. Yanks for Pedro in ’97, Overpaid Selig, Nick Swisher Album, Matt Harvey and Learning from Generation K, Johan Santana’s Future

Cashman on Burnett, Mets vs. Yanks for Pedro in ’97, Overpaid Selig, Nick Swisher Album, Matt Harvey and Learning from Generation K, Johan Santana’s Future

Brian Cashman addressed A.J. Burnett with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on WFAN yesterday.

"We signed a pitcher who was .500. That is what his career record was. He’s a .500 pitcher. He can be electric and dominant. He’s an inconsistent guy. But what he does is give you innings, sometimes their high quality, sometimes they’re not high quality. He’s not afraid, he’s a great guy, he wants to do well. He’s inconsistent, so basically what we bought is what he’s been."

It sounds like Cashman knew the risk he was taking when inking Burnett to the 5 year/$82 million dollar deal. He also sounded comfortable with the inconsistency of Burnett because of the possible upside that he brings. Give me Derek Lowe‘s consistency and postseason pedigree over the occasional Burnett gem any day. Lowe could give you just as manning innings as Burnett for 1 year and $22 million dollars less. I thought Cashman used the opportunity to discuss Burnett as a forum to justify his decision to hand him a big time free agent contract. This is a guy that has performed at the same level as illustrious Yankees such as Melido Perez, Rick Rhoden, and Scott Kamieniecki.

We talk about how Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes are fighting for the last spot in the Yankees rotation. In reality, A.J. Burnett should be lower in the pecking order. If the playoffs were to start today the four man rotation should be CC Sabathia, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, and one of either Hughes or Nova. Burnett should be either sent to the bullpen, or left off the playoff roster. We could see the Yankees $16 million dollar per year free agent acquisition sitting on the sidelines this October. They never have been shy about shelving their high priced talent. Kenny Rogers was left off the playoff roster in 1997, and Hideki Irabu pitched in 1 playoff game (1999 in relief) during his entire Yankees tenure. Salary doesn’t guarantee any postseason time in the Bronx.

Game 3, series tied, pivotal game, who would you rather see on the mound? Freddy Garcia or A.J. Burnett? I know both will make you nervous, but wouldn’t you rather Garcia who has a big game pedigree, and will compete even with less than his best stuff? I would.

Better yet, wouldn’t you take Nova over Burnett in a Game 4 down 2-1? Again, I would.

The “electric stuff” dialogue with Burnett has grown old. Just like his performance with the Yankees.


Cashman also talked about teams historically asking for more from the Yankees than other teams. He didn’t sound upset about passing on Cliff Lee because of Eduardo Nunez. He also made the point that many of the names available at the deadline weren’t necessarily better than Ivan Nova. I disagree on Nunez, but agree with his assessment on the deadline pitching market.

He also went back in time to 1997 and talked about how a team’s unrealistic demand for Yankees talent is nothing new. He mentioned how the Expos settled for a package from the Red Sox for Pedro Martinez that was far less than what was requested of the Yankees.

What was interesting about that winter was the Mets were major players for Martinez as well.

The Mets and the Yankees engaged in a protracted tug-of-war over Hideki Irabu last spring, and they might bid against each other again if the market for Montreal pitcher Pedro Martinez shrivels. - Buster Olney of the NY Times.

That Olney report indicates the Expos were asking for the Indians top three prospects for Martinez. Other reports from the time state that Montreal GM Jim Beattie wanted two pitchers and a positional player. One could only speculate, but I assume Beattie wanted Mike Lowell, Eric Milton (who they used to land Chuck Knoblauch later that winter), and perhaps another top prospect from the Yankees. Could the Mets have sent a couple of members of Generation K along with Carl Everett to land Pedro?

Imagine how different things could have been in the late nineties with Martinez in New York? Either team would have landed this generation’s Sandy Koufax. The Yankees wound up winning three straight World Series anyway, but who knows how much longer that streak could have been with the presence of Martinez. The Mets scenario would have been dramatically different with a bona fide ace at the top of the rotation. It could have gotten them over the hump versus Atlanta. Maybe there would have been more than one Subway Series.

Seeing how overrated the Yankees prospects were from that time, it would have behooved the Bombers to overpay for Martinez. After all, this isn’t Ubaldo Jimenez.

One of the major issues facing both teams in dealing with Montreal was their need for prospects, but also individuals who did not have extended service time. That made any player like Jason Isringhausen and Carl Everett too pricey for Montreal.

Beattie wound up settling for the Red Sox package would include Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr.

Not exactly a “Herschel Walker haul” would you say? Pathetic when you consider how good Martinez was. A pitcher like that doesn’t become available very often.


I talked about Manny Banuelos possibly getting time in September as the LOOGY. Cashman didn’t discount this with Joe and Evan, but sounded like he wasn’t keen on starting his roster clock. He discounted any chance of Banuelos getting an opportunity to start with the big league club.


Think Burnett is overpaid? Take a look at the salaries for the commissioners in all four major sports.

Bud Selig is paid $2 million dollars more a year than Burnett for his electric stuff. I can assure you that nothing is “electric” about Selig. He’s spent his tenure looking the other way, glad-handing with his buddy owners, and resisting change. What do you expect from a former used car salesman?

If you are going to pay someone that much money, then you need a better performance. Don’t get me started about the growth of the game. He is sitting on an oil field. If Selig can’t sell Major League Baseball, then he wasn’t much of a used car salesman in the first place.


NY Yankee outfielder Nick Swisher just released his second album. This one, Believe, is a children’s CD. You can check out the soundtrack over at Bob’s Blitz, and hear a clip over at Deadspin. 


Matt Harvey got his first Double-A victory last night hurling 5 shutout innings. I wrote yesterday how the Mets can learn from the mistakes they made with Generation K. I think you will find it an interesting read.


Check out this outstanding article by Joe Janish of Mets Today. Joe points out issues with Johan Santana‘s delivery, and why it may lead to him never pitching effectively again. You can read the details for yourself, but Janish consulted a Sport Kinesiologist’s to identify specific issues with Santana’s mechanics.

The Mets should just shut him down the rest of 2011. There are industry rumors they are leaning in that direction already. The proper course of action for the Mets going forward is to treat Santana as a sunk cost and not rely on him to contribute the rest of his contract. That will prevent them suffering the “Waiting for Godot” syndrome that befell them when Pedro Martinez, El Duque, and Carlos Beltran suffered through injuries.

Janish’s last paragraph made a ton of sense:

Some day — hopefully soon — MLB teams are going to recognize the reality that pitching coaches need help from qualified scientists in understanding and evaluating pitchers’ motions. It doesn’t mean teams don’t need pitching coaches, nor that a scientist should replace the coach. To the contrary — it should be understood that pitching a baseball is a complicated, often dangerous activity, and there are resources available that can minimize the risks and keep pitchers healthy and performing at their peak ability.

Actually, whether you are a parent, coach, professional writer, or blogger you should spend some time talking to Rick Peterson and the folks at 3p Sports. They do webinars on pitching that will help you in all facets. Whether you are a writer who wants to educate yourself on pitching, or an amateur player that wants to improve and grow, Peterson and company will have plenty of useful nuggets for you.

The Mets front office really needs to evaluate their big league pitching coach after the season. Dan Warthen is an old school “go get em” pitching coach that has no place in the modern world of baseball. We talk about the need to get more forward thinkers in the front office, but rarely do you hear about how vastly outdated most pitching coaches are. The Yankees have one of the best in the business in Larry Rothschild, and the Mets should bring back Peterson, who I believe is the benchmark for what all pitching coaches should follow. You can check out more about Peterson and company at 3p Sports.

By Mike Silva
Friday, 5 Aug 2011

A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, Brian Cashman, C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Derek Lowe, Eduardo Nunez, Freddy Garcia, Hideki Irabu, Melido Perez, New York Mets, Pedro Martinez, Rick Rhoden, Scott Kamieniecki


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