A.J. Burnett said the other day that he would welcome “with open arms” a trade to the Cubs. He tried to backpedal a little by saying “As of right now I’m a Blue Jay, and I’m going to pitch to the best of my ability as long as I’m part of this club. But if something like that were to happen, … that would be awesome.” Maybe A.J. didn’t pay attention ten years ago when Roger Clemens asked to be traded from the Jays. Jays fans booed him out of town and haven’t forgiven him. This was after two straight Cy Young seasons. Now Burnett essentially says the same thing after 2½ seasons of injuries and mediocrity. Hey A.J., we know Roger Clemens. We watched him pitch here. We watched him win Cy Young awards here. A.J., you’re no Roger Clemens.
Burnett’s first two seasons with the Jays both ended up at 10-8 with an ERA just under 4.00. This year he’s 6-6 and 4.90. Overall, 26-22 and an ERA just over 4.00. Not bad, but is that really worth the $11+ million a year he’s getting? These days, I suppose it probably is, given what other second-tier pitchers are getting. His performance as a Jay shouldn’t surprise anyone though — he pitched for seven seasons in Florida, and in his best season, he was 12-9. He was one game under .500 for his career before joining the Jays, and he’s all of three games over .500 now. Burnett’s career is about the same length as Roy Halladay’s — Halladay pitched in 2 games in 1998 and Burnett was a rookie in 1999. Halladay’s career ERA is .24 lower than Burnett’s, he’s started 45 more games, has won 44 more games, and has lost 9 less. Oh yeah, and he’s won a Cy Young award.
Maybe a comparison to Halladay is unfair, since nobody considers Burnett a top-tier pitcher, as Halladay is. But $11 million a year is very close to top-tier money, and I would think that if you’re making that kind of money and obviously not performing to that level, you really shouldn’t go saying stupid things like what he said. If Ricciardi can trade Burnett (to the Cubs or anyone else) and get something decent for him, do it. Otherwise, encourage him to opt out of his contract at the end of the season and take the draft picks. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Mr. Burnett.
Speaking of the Cubs, former Jay Reed Johnson homered off of Roy Halladay on the weekend. Let’s compare how he and his replacement, Shannon Stewart, are doing so far this year:
|Stewart||52||.240||1||14||3||Currently on the DL|
Stewart, in about the same number of games, is hitting 27 points lower, has less home runs, less than half the RBIs, less stolen bases, and is currently injured. Nice move, J.P.
Brilliant idea: Trade Burnett to the Cubs for Reed Johnson! The Cubs want a veteran pitcher, the Jays get rid of someone who has a hefty contract and doesn’t want to be here anyway, and the Jays need a left fielder since Stewart is hurt! Everybody wins!