It appears the AJ Burnett to the Yankees deal is about to be official for 5 years and $82.5 million. I’ve already discussed some of the pros and cons of Burnett and I’ll probably talk about the contract more once it’s official.
What we are seeing now though is the Yankees using their financial clout to fill in talent for a period of time when their farm system produced very little. The Yankees didn’t draft very well in the late 90’s and the early part of this decade. Everyone knows that. They’ve done an excellent job restocking quickly in recent years, producing the likes of Wang, Cano, Melky, Joba, Hughes, IPK, etc. I know not all of those players have been consistently excellent, but they have value.
Well the Yankees have a lot of talent still on the way: Brackman, Betances, Melancon, Montero, Romine, Jackson, etc. The problem is, the Yankees just don’t have very many talented players in the age range of 27-32, and that is a direct result of those years of mismanaged drafts. So the Yankees have made some smart trades and used their money to correct that.
The result? Xavier Nady, Nick Swisher, CC Sabathia, and now Burnett. You obviously cannot rely solely on money and trades to acquire talent. But Cashman has identified the Yankees need and filled it, the hope being that down the road they will have consistent drafts and be able to simply pick their spots when it comes to flexing their financial muscle.