We may not be GMs or professional scouts, but we fans talk to each other and we hear pretty much everything there is to hear about a player. For example, when the Yankees were looking at free agent starting pitchers prior to the ’09 season and ended up signing A.J. Burnett, here’s what several Toronto fans told me:
“He’ll frustrate the hell out of you. One minute he’ll look like the best pitcher you ever saw. The next he’ll break your heart. He’s the definition of inconsistency.”
I remember saying to myself, “Oh, that’s just sour grapes because the Blue Jays can’t afford to keep A.J.” But those fans were right, and I wish the Yankees had listened. Not that Burnett hasn’t been spectacular on occasion, and let’s face it – we won a championship with him last year. But how does a guy seem to be cruising and then give up seven runs in one inning?
Well, sure. He wouldn’t have given up seven runs if Girardi had pulled him sooner. But that’s beside the point. The bigger question is why hasn’t he become a more consistent pitcher – an elite pitcher – at this stage of his career? Is he uncoachable? Is he a head case? Or does he just have too many tattoos on his arms?
I don’t know, but tonight’s game was disheartening. Yes, it was fun to watch Swisher hit two out and for Tex to go deep. And yes, it would be nice if A-Rod would get back on track, even if it means cranking out a few measly singles. And big round of applause for the pen – Robertson, Logan and Joba were great. But it all comes back to A.J., who didn’t cut his hands on the glass door again but made my eyes bleed.