Cashman: Criticism of A.J. is “well overblown”

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman launched into an impassioned defense of A.J. Burnett this afternoon during batting practice at Yankee Stadium, and while Cashman says no decision on the six-man rotation has been made yet, it sounds like the Yankees are leaning toward keeping Burnett in the rotation.

That could be bad news for Phil Hughes, who starts Saturday but has no guarantees beyond that. He might be headed for the bullpen or for Triple-A.

“The stuff on A.J. is well overblown,” Cashman said. “A.J. Has been solid for us this year. I just think the way it’s playing doesn’t necessarily reflect the way he’s pitched. Let’s put it that way. The public outcry recently is all emotion rather than actual.”

Cashman was then asked what, exactly, is overblown considering Burnett hasn’t won since June 29.

“If you peel the onion, if he hasn’t won in two months, look at his starts,” he replied. “He’s got one of the least amounts of run support. If you break down his start by start scenario and you look at those starts, it’s not bad.

“I encourage everyone to actually peel the onion, take a look, and if you take his last three starts alone – look at the line. You’ve got the White Sox one which was obviously a bad one, and the previous two before that, take a look at it. Is that a cry for pulling someone out of a rotation? Not at all.”

Cashman said that he feels Burnett’s big contract is fueling some of the outrage.

“I think he’s being treated differently because he has money attached,” Cashman said. “So forgive him for saying yes to a contract. If you want to blame somebody for the contract, blame me. But the man can still pitch, the man is a starter, he can still help us significantly. I’d say take the focus on A.J. Burnett off of A.J. Burnett and focus it on me.

“He was a smart enough man to say yes to a contract which was in the competitive free agent mode, but the Braves bid it up with us and it culminated in the contract. Remove the numbers, the perception of him is completely different, and I’m talking about the salary numbers, not the statistical numbers.”

5 Comments

Crashman, you wrong on all counts. You act like BUSTnett’s second half problems are something new. IF you want to peel the onion back on what BUSTnett has done peel it back even further to his first season with the Yankees. If you did that you will notice he has never been a second half pitcher with the team. Nothing but a losing record there. He’s lucky his record isn’t even worse as he has consistently put the Yankees in a hole every time he has taken the mound. The only reason BUSTnett’s record isn’t worse is because of the offense who saved his worthless neck in a game in which they had to come from behind to win, and another game in which it should have been a cake walk as the team scored 13 runs in a game and he still looked terrible and had to be Yanked in the 5th inning.

That brings us to another problem, he isn’t going deep into games because he walks too many hitters driving up his pitch count. In his last 6 outings he has gone 6+ innings only twice and has 17 BB in 34 2/3 IP as well as allowed 7 HR’s over that time as well. BUSTnett’s problems only add to the problem that this entire staff can’t go deep into games on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, since Garcia hurt his finger, this is moot no one will be going to the pen. But BUSTnett makes the most sense since he is struggling more than anyone else.

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Are you kidding me Crashman? Have you taken a STUPID pill? Look at the the whole body of work over the pass three years. Can you tell me you have gotten what you paid for? Is it any wonder why this team is in the situation it finds itself in with a GM as STUPID as this guy? Instead of defending this PIss poor pitcher try calling a spade a spade, he STINKS!!!

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Cashman is desperately trying to defend the contract he gave to this guy long term and needing to rationalize AJ’s performance to date. Every year it’s the same excuses. AJ will never be any different. And there is no team who would be stupid enough to take him off our hands. We’re stuck with him and with what we’re paying him Cashman and Girardi won’t put him in the bull pen or send him down to the minors. We will continue to have more of the same this year and next year until AJ’s contract runs out. Get used to it everyone.

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The “worst run support of all our pitchers” line was one i used what, about 6 weeks ago to support AJ but that argument became the biggest “blown out of the water” since Bismarck in Chicago! If you’re talking about a little league pitcher, he’s good, 5 innings before he’s sitting on the bench getting congratulations – but unfortunately he aint 12 years old and he’s not facing kids any more. Keeping him IN the rotation essentially means the possibility of burning the pen is there every 5th day, sure we’ve got some quality arms down there, but all too often we’ve had to sit them because AJ’s blown up again.
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The problem with asking people to look beyond the contract is that in a time when money right now is probably THE biggest talking point in the world it becomes glaringly obvious that he’s underperforming. Granted i speak from a UK perspective where we’re more likely to be 9-5.30 than you are in the US but if you were to show up and stop working at 3pm you’d be looking for a new job pretty quickly! This guy is getting paid a massive sum of money and simply put is working 75% shifts and leaving a helluva mess in the staff room that someone’s gotta clear up.
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We’re talking about a man who gave up so much confidence last season that the skipper left him off the ALDS roster, but lets look at something a little more “analytical” i guess. ALCS line during his Yankees career 0-1, 3 games, 18.1ip, 6.38 ERA. World series? 1-1, 2GS, 9IP, 7.00ERA! It’s possible to suggest that sometimes the numbers tell half a story – well, if that’s half the story it’s back on the bookshelf or packed off to the local charity shop along with all the other books which sucked after reading them!
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Some people it’s fair to say aren’t cut out for their surroundings, i get that NY is a place where even the hardest of us get spooked – but when you’re allegedly a number 2 starter for a World Series chasing franchise you can’t afford to be spooked by the bright lights. AJ clearly has talent, but it’s also clear that he’s got a real problem which is helped none by a ballpark condusive to hitters in a city where the lights shine brighter than anywhere else and every day you’ve got a million people who see the problems from the night before splashed all over their box scores in their morning papers.

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Sorry Brian! It takes a lot to turn me negative, but that’s where I’m at!!! Burnett give us a nice four or five innings most times, but that is just not enough as a starter. Out of the bullpen it would be a completely different story.

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