The following two topics have literally nothing to do with each other, but I want to discuss them further than I did yesterday.
First, as you all know, Arodys Vizcaino was called up to the Majors and pitched for the Braves last night. What does this have to do with the Yankees? As you know, he was the biggest piece the Yankees gave up in the second Javier Vazquez trade. Are you shaking with awful memories of 2010 Javy Vazquez? Yeah that was rough, wasn’t it?
Anyway, I have a bad feeling–and I saw a bit of it last night–that every time A-Viz comes in for the rest of the year, we’re going to hear Yankee fans doing the “OH NOEZ!” song and dance. And it’s going to get really tired really quickly. The trade didn’t work out. It happens. Even if I wasn’t too excited for it at the time, the trade was still a good trade at the time, but it just didn’t go the way we wanted to.
At the time, I thought the trade was a bit short sighted. Giving up Vizcaino hurt and acquiring Vazquez meant that Joba Chamberlain wasn’t going to start in 2010. But, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Vazquez was a virtual lock for 200 innings and around 200 strikeouts, A-Viz had yet to pitch in a full season league, and Melky Cabrera was about to get really expensive. The trade ended up being a perfect example of (mostly) good process and just the worst possible results. Too bad. Get over it. Please, Yankee fans, don’t moan and groan every time Vizcaino takes the mound just because Javy Vazquez’s fastball disappeared in 2010.
Speaking of much despised Yankee pitchers, I’ll move to A.J. Burnett. Yesterday, I hinted that he could be sent to the bullpen, though I don’t think it’ll happen. Also yesterday, I asked people on Twitter to give me evidence that Mr. Burnett was mentally weak. I had a good conversation with @nick_dimi, but I’m still a bit unconvinced. A lot of the things we consider signs of “mental weakness” definitely have physical roots. A.J. Burnett is mentally weak because he hung a pitch to Jeff Mathis? Well if hanging a pitch to a crappy hitter is a sign of mental weakness, then every pitcher ever is mentally weak. He has mechanical flaws, no? So does everyone at some point. I don’t think that’s a sign of mental weakness.
From what we know, A.J. Burnett is a good teammate. He stands in front of his locker and takes questions when he doesn’t pitch well. He knows what he did right, he knows what he did wrong, and he usually holds himself pretty accountable. Those are not the traits of a “mentally weak” pitcher.
No, A.J. Burnett is not pitching well right now. He’s been pretty bad for the last year and a few months. But, his struggles seem mostly physical. Bad control, sketchy mechanics, and the like are not evidence of A.J. Burnett being weak minded. Their signs of him being an inconsistent pitcher. If you’re thinking that Burnett is anything different at this point, well, I don’t know what to tell you.
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