What's A.J. Burnett Worth?

With Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett on the trade market, and presumably headed to Pittsburgh soon, the question has been posed. Burnett will earn $35M over the next two seasons. In a trade, New York will inevitably have to eat a lot of the cost. So how much is A.J. really worth?

Back in December of 2008, the Yankees handed him a five-year $82.5M deal. The first year of the deal went well, as Burnett posted a 4.04 ERA/4.33 FIP/4.23 xFIP across 207 innings. His numbers weren't necessarily stellar, but they were solid nonetheless. Depending on your preferred implementation of WAR, he was worth anywhere between 2 and 3.5 WAR.

Then 2010 happened. Burnett's strikeout rate (K%), as high as 25.5% in 2007 and at a still-great 21.8% in 2009, fell to 17.5%. All across the board, his numbers rose: 5.26 ERA/4.83 FIP/4.49 xFIP. Unfortunately, 2011 wasn't much of a bounceback for Burnett. His K rate climbed back over 20%, but that was largely negated by an uptick in home runs allowed. Over 190 innings, he surrendered 31 bombs, good (or rather, bad) for the fourth-highest mark in the majors.

After a couple poor seasons, he's now 35 years old. So, what's he worth at this point?

Many are quick to point out that Burnett had a 3.86 xFIP in 2011. Indeed, if fewer flyballs had left the park (Burnett's HR/FB rate -- 17% -- was quite high), his numbers wouldn't look so bad. As a right-handed pitcher in New York, he's at an inherent disadvantage, too. In terms of overall wOBA, the Yankees' home park has played mostly neutral (103/100 wOBA park factor for lefties and righties, respectively); however, the park is highly conducive to home runs, especially for left-handed hitters.

It's worth noting, though, that Burnett has a somewhat significant gap between his xFIP and ERA over his career (0.32, to be exact). At nearly 2000 major-league innings, he's at the point where we can say with some confidence that he'll probably continue to underperform his xFIP.

Anyway, a move to a less homer-friendly NL park would certainly do Burnett a lot of good. Given his track record, he'll most likely see a bounceback of some sorts. But again, he's pretty old at this point, and by Baseball-Reference, he's averaged a measly 0.3 WAR over the past two seasons.

At $5M per year, it's probably worth taking a shot with him. Any more than $5M though? Eh.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Beyond the Box Score

You must be a member of Beyond the Box Score to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Beyond the Box Score. You should read them.

Join Beyond the Box Score

You must be a member of Beyond the Box Score to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Beyond the Box Score. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker