Missing Out on Burnett

I write this from the perspective of a Braves fan, but the analysis is relevant in general. On Friday, A.J. Burnett spurned the Braves to sign a five-year, $82.5 million contract($16.5./year) with the New York Yankees. In October, I suggested that Burnett should have accepted the Blue Jays contract extension, which would have been equivalent to a four-year, $52 million deal ($13.5 million/year). Shows what I know.

Supposedly, the Braves had a similar offer on the table, but Burnett picked the Yankees. I think this is good for the Braves. Over the next five years, I estimate Burnett to be worth $71.25 million ($14.25 million/year). On top of this, I think it’s an extremely risky value due to his injury history. If he continues to pitch as he did in 2008, then he will be worth his contract. If he pitches like he did in the preceding two years, it’s a disaster. Given the makeup of the Braves current roster, I don’t think it would have been a good risk for the team to take on at the rumored five-year, $80 million price.

What I do wonder is why the Braves are not expressing any interest in Derek Lowe? It seems to me that if you are in on one, you should be in on the other. Even though he’s older, I think Lowe is a better bet than Burnett.

6 Responses “Missing Out on Burnett”

  1. Adam says:

    Is a guy that had Tommy John surgery 5 years ago and a sore shoulder 2 years ago really a serious injury risk?

  2. Frank says:

    I too think the Braves would be better with Lowe than Burnett, but why no interest in Lowe?

    Scott Boras

    I saw a report earlier today that the Yanks weren’t interested in any Boras clients this year.  It might be a coincidence but it makes one wonder …

  3. Connor says:

    That’s what I’ve been saying!  I know Boras is his client but the market really doesn’t look like it is going to develop for Lowe.  Philly is probably out since they signed Moyer and Ibanez.  The Yankees are reportedly much more interested in Pettite or maybe Sheets.  The Red Sox are interested, but it’s unclear how interested.  Wren would be a fool not to at least strongly consider Lowe.  Just because he is a sinkerballer and doesn’t have “ace” stuff like Burnett doesn’t mean he wouldn’t lead our rotation.  Even if it costs 4/60 I think thats a much better signing than Burnett for 5/82.5.

  4. Rick says:

    I agree that Lowe would be a good signing for the Braves. The lack of reported interest might have something to do with the Braves not wanting anyone on the team, Sheffield aside who has controversy associated with their name. Lowe has a pretty rich history off the field in both Boston and LA.
    I don’t think the Boras factor has anything to do with it. They dealt with Boras when they tried to sign Teixeira. Why would you avoid many of the best players in the game just because their agent is the best in the business? That does not make sense from a business POV. In fact, it’s just stupid.

  5. Gary says:

    I wouldn’t want to pay a guy 82.5 million that has only pitched more than 200 innings 3 times in his 10 year career. The Braves need to give that kind of money to a guy that is going to make 30+ starts a season and pitch 200+ innings. With A.J., I don’t think you will get that for most of the contract. I’m not saying he’ll be injured as often as Mike Hampton but the guy misses quite a few starts almost every season.

  6. Marc Schneider says:

    I agree, Burnett is too big a risk for a team like the Braves.  He makes sense for the Yankees.   There’s a big upside but a significant downside as well.  I have real issues about signing pitchers in their thirties anyway, especially since it’s not likely that either Burnett or Lowe would put the Braves over the top.  But Lowe does make more sense, but I’m not sure if he does for five years.