Get Me Houston On The Line

The Yankees need to swallow the harsh truth, AJ Burnett is a bust. They made a huge mistake when they gave him a fat contract, but that money is now a sunk cost. They are going to pay AJ $37 million or so over the next 2-1/4 seasons no matter what. And despite what Brian Cashman claims, that money is the only reason AJ is still a Yankee. If he was in the last season of his contract or didn’t make so much money, the Yankees would cut him at this point.

It’s not just the bad performance with AJ, it’s the attitude. Did he show up his manager last night? Certainly looked like it to me on TV. Is his manager sick of AJ? Check out this video of the postgame press conference. Jack Curry is asking the questions that set Girardi off. Curry used to write for the New York Times and now does analysis for YES. He is a very level-headed and respected member of the press and I for one am shocked that Girardi jumped on him, but I think it was a sign of his frustration with the AJ situation. Joe has to keep handing him the ball because of the contract. If you gave him truth serum, he would admit to wanting to do something different. And that’s what the Yankees have to do at this point. They need to get AJ to go away and the best fit in my mind is with Houston.

The Astros are trying to get rid of Wandy Rodriguez because Rodriguez is going to make at least $25.5 million over the next three seasons. (He has a $13 million option for 2014 that becomes a player option if he is traded) Add in that option and Rodriguez is going to make approximately $36 million or so. Wouldn’t it make sense from a Yankee standpoint to see if the Astros would be willing to take AJ Burnett and cash in exchange for Wandy Rodriguez? Rodriguez has a 3.31 ERA, albeit in the NL and is a lefty. It’s hard to imagine that he could be worse than AJ, even with the transition to the AL and there is a chance he is significantly better. If Houston is looking for salary relief, the Yankees can certainly provide it. Offer to pay half of AJ’s remaining salary and throw in a middle of the road prospect. Houston gets a pitcher who could be better in the NL and they remove $16 million in liabilities from their payroll going forward. The Yankees spend more money, but remember that $37 million is already spent. Even if they gave Houston $16 million they would be removing AJ from the team and only adding around $5 million to the payroll from 2012-2014.

If the Yankees don’t manage to trade him, they are going to have to demote him to the bullpen after next Saturday’s doubleheader. Nova and Hughes are clearly better than him right now and there is simply no way AJ deserves to start over either of them. But demoting him to the bullpen will make a bad situation worse. The Yankees have about a week to solve their AJ problem. Let’s see if Brian Cashman can fix it.