Yep. Seems crazy, doesn't it?
Of course, we know what happened. Hal Steinbrenner decided to impose a $186 million payroll cap. Thus, no two-year deals. (Then he broke his rule and signed Ichiro.) Brian Cashman went to the Winter Meetings and said - famously - "Beggars can't be choosers." Next summer, the Yankees played everybody but Matt Nokes at catcher. And last winter, they lashed themselves for five years to the great white whale known as Brian McCann. And here we are: McCann hit 23 home runs and batted .232. last season.
But believe it or not, I'm thinking about AJ Burnett today. The Pirates just re-signed him, even though he crapped the bed last season: 8-18 with a 4.59 ERA. That, of course, fueled Burnett's boisterous Yankee critics, who still claim - ludicrously - that it was smart to dump him in 2011... a move that foreshadowed Hal's brief fling with austerity.
In 2012, Burnett was one of the NL's best pitchers. (In return, the Yankees received two Single A meatballs.) He followed it in 2013 with a better ERA - 3.30 - over 191 innings. And last year, for all his issues, he still threw 213 innings - well more than any Yankee pitcher.
For the last three years, the Yankees have bled starters. Yet they gave Burnett away, and - amazingly - never seemed to face criticism for doing so.
Well, yesterday, Pittsburgh did something the Yankees refused to do:
They forgave AJ Burnett for having a bad season. They re-signed him.
Oh, well, we chopped a year off the McCann prison sentence. And Martin is a free agent. He should get a decent deal. Did you know he hit .290 last year?