"Now, what is this site about, how Joe Torre ruined pitchers' arms? Is that it?"
-Michael Kay, August 18, 2009

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yankees avoiding Sheets like the plague

Tireless Joel Sherman, who's supposed to be on vacation, threw up yet another post this week. He talks mainly about Ben Sheets, but has other bits of information on A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe.

Sherman said he's heard from sources who said the Yankees have real concerns about Sheets' health history, especially his back. He also said the Yankees have already taken their "health gamble" by signing Burnett to a five-year deal and want nothing to do with Sheets.

He also has news on why the Yankees chose Burnett over Lowe. He said the Yankees built their plans around CC Sabathia, but knew they needed a second pitcher. The Yankees used both pitchers' numbers in and against the AL East as comparison, and it was ultimately the deal breaker.

Lowe had a 5.42 ERA in his last year in the AL East, and he's already up there in age (he'll turn 36 in June). Burnett was 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA against the Yankees last year, and because of that, the Yankees felt he could dominant other AL opponents. He pitched to a 2.60 ERA against the Boston Red Sox last year and only gave up one run (zero earned) in 13 2/3 innings pitched at Fenway Park.

Sherman said the Yankees valued Burnett's dominant potential over Lowe's dependability.

Nothing surprising here. Had the Yankees been unable to sign Burnett, Sheets would've been a nice option. He would've required less years and less annual money than Burnett. Both pitchers, however, are injury risks. Lowe also probably would've received a contract like Burnett's, and I would be extremely hesitant to give a four- or five-year to a pitcher in his mid-30s.


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