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What Should Yankees Do With A.J. Burnett?

Jamie Squire, Getty Images

Watching AJ Burnett these days is like watching someone getting a root canal.  It’s just not fun.

On Saturday, Burnett gave up 7 runs in just over an inning in the Yankees 9-4 loss to Minnesota.  It was his shortest outing since 2004 – when he was a member of the Florida Marlins.

The question now becomes what should the Yankees do with AJ?

As crazy as it sounds, I think AJ Burnett will remain a starter for the rest of the season – even though he shouldn’t be.

Since June 29th, Burnett has just one win - he’s made 9 starts during that time.  He’s 1-1 with a 10.69 ERA in his last 4 starts.

But you have to let him work out his issues as a member of the rotation.  As bad as it is, the only way he’s going to get better is to keep pitching.  You have to hope that he comes around.  He has moments of greatness and you hope that you catch lightning in a bottle.

You can’t cut him or even place him on the disabled list.

Hannah Foslien, Getty Images

If the Yankees cut him, they owe him $34 million. Even for the Yankees, that’s just not smart business.  Money is the only reason preventing the Yankees from cutting him.  The Yankees are stuck with him. They signed him to a monster deal so they have to deal with the problem.

If the Yanks put him on the DL, they’re still left with the same issue when he comes off the DL in September.  Do you really want him to “find himself” during the playoff stretch?  Putting him on the DL only delays the inevitable.

Moving AJ to the bullpen will only make it worse. 

You can’t hope a pitcher finds himself in the bullpen either. How’d that work out for Oliver Perez?  Taking the mound during a blowout every 5 days isn’t going to make him a better pitcher.  Hiding Burnett in the bullpen isn’t the solution. 

If they Yanks put Burnett in the bullpen, he’s going to have to stay there.  Burnett has never pitched out of the bullpen before.  He’s not a reliever.  And if you put him there, you can’t play yo-yo with him.

Not only that, the Yankees would essentially be wasting a roster spot by putting him in the bullpen.  That’s not smart either.

I think you have to keep AJ Burnett in the rotation – it’s not a great option given the circumstances but I think it’s the only option.

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