When asked about that idea weeks ago, my immediate response was “No, thank you!” But upon further review, I think it’s a valid question to ask.
Burnett has been pretty bad the last two seasons. In 2010, he was 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. In 2011, he was 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. He is also owed $33 million over the next two seasons. He turned 35 years old in January.
All those reasons mean that the answer probably should be “No, thank you!” But maybe it isn’t and shouldn’t be that simple. It appears that a deal between the Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates is likely, but here are a few reasons that the Twins should at least make a quick phone call to Brian Cashman:
- The first assumption would have to be that the Yankees will cover $20-25 million of the $33 million remaining on Burnett’s contract. If that can’t be agreed upon, then there is zero reason to continue discussion.
- The second assumption is that the Yankees are not looking for a top prospect in return. Of course, if they’re going to hand over that much money, they will want something of quality too. If they think they’re going to get Miguel Sano, then the discussion can end too.
- He has made 32 or more starts each of the past four seasons. He has thrown more than 186 innings each of those seasons.
- Getting out of New York can be a good thing for many pitchers, especially after a bad year or two. Think anyone understands that better than Carl Pavano. The two were teammates with the Marlins from 2002 through 2004. Could playing in Minnesota and with an old teammate help Burnett reach his potential again?
- Burnett may be a big of an enigma, but he’s an enigma who throws really hard and has a really nasty slider and as recently as three years ago, he struck out more than a batter per inning.
- A rotation of Burnett, Liriano, Baker and Pavano is a pretty good start. Burnett has the stuff, like Liriano, to be a top of the rotation guy. Baker is a very good #2. Burnett has playoff experience and success.
The case can also be made that he, like Liriano, may be a bit of a head case. We don’t know if he will improve by being out of New York. We don’t know that he will continue to be healthy. We don’t know what the Twins advanced scouts think of what he has left.
It won’t happen, and it probably shouldn’t happen. At the end of the day, I probably would still say “No, Thank you!” The discussion is certainly worthwhile, and I have to assume that it was discussed at least to some level in the Twins front offices.
Any thoughts? Please feel free to use the Comments Section!