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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Brian Cashman, Crybaby! GM Can't Take a Little Criticism About A.J. Burnett

I've been saying for months that New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has gone into Joe Torre mode, where he thinks his you-know-what don't stink. And, like what happened with Torre in later years, anybody who says the mildest criticism about his decision-making gets lambasted.

Cashman is now outraged that the media and the Yankee fan base has lost patience with A.J. Burnett, with many of them thinking that Burnett should lose his spot in the current six-man rotation. So Cash launched an epic whine yesterday, complaining about how anybody who thought that way was "stupid." Cashman said he thought Burnett's failures were blown out of proportion, and called it a "bull - - - - emotional response to stuff that doesn't accurately reflect reality."
“The stuff on A.J. is way overblown. A.J.’s been solid for us this year. I just think the way it’s playing doesn’t necessarily reflect how he’s pitched,” Cashman said. “The public outcry recently is all emotion rather than factual.”
Really? Having an 8-9 record, with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP when you're supposed to be this team's No. 2 starter is "solid"? Spare me.

Granted, compared to A.J.'s 2010 10-15, 5.26 ERA, 1.51 WHIP record, one of the all-time worst Yankee pitching seasons ever, it looks like he's made progress. (Burnett's overall Yankee record is 31-33, with a 4.61 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP.) But that's the thing -- for the third year in a row, Burnett got off to a pretty good start, then tanked as the year progressed. Burnett hasn't won a game this year since June 29, and he is yet to have a Yankee win in August. Those are indeed facts, not emotions. The only Yankee Burnett's numbers look good compared to are Phil Hughes, but at least Hughes has shown some progress since returning from the DL.

More from the rant:

"We've got six guys who are capable of pitching in a rotation in a pennant race," Cashman said. "That's a good thing. Someone is going to have to go, and we're going to make that decision. But this stuff about [whether] A.J. Burnett is worthy of being ripped from the rotation is a bunch of crap."
He also said:
"I encourage everybody to just break it down," Cashman said. "Break it down. Compare him to other people. Look at his start-by-start. Look at his run support. If you smoke the objective pipe, I think the coverage on him would be a little smoother, more accurate." 
Again, it's insulting that Cash thinks daring to ponder whether Burnett should be taken out of the rotation is such a terrible "crap" idea.

But Cashman is smoking something, alright, if he thinks looking at the stats and breaking it down actually helps Burnett's case. Run support? He was staked to a 13-1 lead against the White Sox and STILL couldn't make it out of the fifth inning! Besides, as Mike Mazzeo of  ESPN New York noted:
• Of all pitchers who qualify for the ERA title, Burnett ranks 91st (4.60).


• As far as run support is concerned, Burnett ranks 27th in the majors (6.84).


• He hasn't won since June 29 and is 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA during that stretch (seven starts).


• He hasn't won an August start in his two-plus seasons with the Yankees (0-8, 7.18).
So much for the stats proving A.J's really doing great!

Cashman also claimed:
"I have more objectivity than most of us, let's put it that way. I'm just used to the [expletive] emotional response to stuff that doesn't really reflect reality. A.J. Burnett is not pitching anywhere close to as bad as people say."
Oh, please. First of all, I don't really believe anybody is truly objective. The most we can strive for is to be fair. And the idea that Cashman is really objective is nonsense.

At any rate, I find it rich that a professional who can't manage to get through a few sentences in this interview without cursing and calling others "stupid" and "emotional" is complaining about others not being objective. Cashman ain't exactly acting like Mr. Spock here!

He did concede that he could be blamed for Burnett:
“He’s being treated differently publicly because he has money attached,” said Cashman, who spiced his remarks with a profanity. “So forgive him for saying yes to a contract. If you want to blame someone for his contract, blame me. But the man can still pitch.”

Gee, you think money has something to do with it, Cash? If Burnett were making the major league minimum, would he even have been on the team after 2010? The answer is no. Of course it matters.

But that's not the only issue here. I actually like Burnett -- he would be the current Yankee player I would most like to go have a liquid refreshment with -- and I think he was a critical part of the 2009 World Series championship. If he didn't win Game 2, I don't think the Yanks would have won the series.

However, the facts are that 1) Burnett has melted down repeatedly in the second half, and 2) his post-game interview comments have been abysmal, where he has been in denial about his poor pitching, like when he said after his last start he wouldn't do anything differently. And given that Cashman lost faith in Ian Kennedy after the pitcher gave one dopey interview, and ended up trading him, he's showing a bit of a double standard here.

Funny, Cashman's acolytes love to say how honest he is. No, he's not. He's all about avoiding blame, and criticizing others, and making everybody the bad guy but him. When you make fun of your own fan base, the people who buy your team's tickets that help fund your $200+ million payroll, and call them "stupid" and "emotional," you're not being honest, you're just being an ungrateful jerk.

1 comment:

rmc512 said...

great post. another unemotional stat is that AJ has about 6 ERA in innings immediately following an inning when the Yankees scored.