Friday, November 21, 2008

Beware of Over Bidding

The Yankees have the chance to get into a big bidding war with the Red Sox this winter for A.J. Burnett's services. Let the buyer beware! The Yankees have not fared well in recent years when they face off with the Red Sox over a player. Yes, the Yankees have prevailed in getting the player, but it has backfired.

Case in point, Carl Pavano. Burnett, like Pavano, is coming off a career year, winning 18 games, the same figure Pavano won in 2004 with Florida. Burnett had a sub .500 winning percentage prior to this season. Granted he has much nastier stuff than Pavano, but he's oft-injured and has a rep, fair or unfair, of being soft. He's also 32 years old.

Prior to Pavano, there was the Cuban fiasco, Jose Contreras whom the Yankees locked up before the 2003 season. The Yankees ticked off Sox' president Larry Luccino with their tactics and we all laughed with glee as Contreras signed a 4-year, $32 million deal despite the fact that most of what the Yankees knew about him was hearsay. He was also reportedly 31 years old, but who knows how old he really was/is. Think El Duque.

Contreras hated the cold weather, sweated his balls off in hot weather and rarely showed flashes of promise. He blamed much of his troubles on missing his family, but he didn't get much better when they finally arrived in the US. He was 15-7 in his short time in Pinstripes, pitching 18 games in 2003, and 18 more in 2004 before being traded to the White Sox for Estaban Loaiza. (In Chicago he's had mild success, including being part of the 2005 World Series champions, but injuries effected him over the last 1 and 1/2 seasons.)

It wasn't a free agent deal, per se, but Alex Rodriguez also pitted Boston against New York. The Red Sox thought they had a deal done prior to the 2004 season, only to have it shot down by the league office. The Yankees swooped in and though he's won 2 MVP awards, the Yankees may have been better off without A-Rod. He's a drama queen and it won't get any better now that he's hooked up with Madonna.

The Yankees also have a poor history in dealing with players that have been on the Marlins. Pavano was a bust, Ivan Rodriguez didn't pan out in his short stint this past season. The Yankees dealt Mike Lowell, who became a star in Florida, for a bunch of garbage. (Granted, the Yankees have had success with pitcher's coming out of Toronto - David Cone, Roger Clemens).

A.J. Burnett would be a nice pick up, but a guaranteed 5 years? For $75-80 million. Let the buyer beware.

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