Thursday, March 02, 2006

A.J. Burnett = ?

I was talking to a friend today about the upcoming MLB season, and he said that worst case scenario for the Blue Jays would end up with A.J. Burnett pitching like Carl Pavano did last year. And at that point I had a moment of inspiration, and realized the perfect comparison for the Burnett signing. It's so perfect in fact, I couldn't believe I hadn't heard anyone else make this point: Burnett's signing is like the Dodgers' signing of Darren Dreifort four years ago. It's got all the same issues. Both were right around the 28/29 year old range, and hadn't been able to fully capitalize on their potential. Their ERAs are both a little above 4, with career win totals between 40 and 50. But both were signed to the exact same deal - 5 years, $55 million. And Dreifort simply got bogged down by injuries and was never able to play at anything resembling the level pegged for him. The Burnett deal probably won't end up that badly, but it's something to think about. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better comparison to the Burnett signing, and that's a pretty sobering reality.


Blogger Dave Ling & Franchise said...

If Burnett doesn't turn out better then Darren Dreifort he will be carried out of the SkyDome (Rogers Center) and will endure a public sacrafice in the middle of Younge & Dundas Square in Toronto.

Honestly though, Dreifort is much more of a deadbeat then Burnett, especially given that no one ever confused Dreifort as being a top-shelf free agent available on the market. Instead he's been mired in mediocrity (at best) there in LA his whole career.

Although he did cash in with that huge 5 yr $55M deal like Burnett did, that's about the extent as to what the two have in common.... I hope.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous steve khan said...

Dreifort was never as good AJ Burnett is now at his career. For three years as a starter before he signed the contract (1998-2000), Dreifort's ERA was 4.30+. Burnett's career ERA (7 years) is 3.73. If AJ pitches the way he can, he should amount at least 15 wins with the Jays this season.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

I see it more similar to the Matt Clement signing last by the Red Sox. Burnett has VERY strong peripherals (superb GB/FB, HR rates, K rates) which sould lead to even better ERAs than what he has done. Yet like Clement both are productive but not as productive as their peripherals suggest they could be. I do expect good performance from Burnett (say 3.80 ERA, in a better hitters' league and park, and 170 IP per season) but the Jays definitely overpaid on the order of about $3M per. They would have been much better signing Jeff Weaver, a comparable pitcher, for much less.
Also, it makes no sense for J.P. Ricciardi to build a ground-ball intensive staff and then deal away Orlando Hudson, the best defender at his position. Particularly when Aaron Hill isn't going to provide any offensive improvement at the position.

12:17 PM  
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7:34 PM  

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