ESPNews reports the New York Yankees agreed to terms with free-agent starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (Toronto Blue Jays) on a five-year deal worth $82.5 million Friday, Dec. 12.
The Yankees have effectively bolstered the top of their starting rotation with the acquisitions of Burnett and starting pitcher CC Sabathia in the same week. Their revamped rotation currently includes Sabathia, Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain. They are still pursuing another starter, with possibilities including free-agent starting pitchers Ben Sheets (Milwaukee Brewers), Derek Lowe (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Andy Pettitte (Yankees).
The addition of Burnett gives the Yankees another starter with top-of-the-line talent. He posted a 4.07 ERA and a career-high 231 strikeouts in 221 1/3 innings pitched in the 2008 campaign. The right-hander also compiled an 18-10 record and a 1.34 WHIP. The only issue with Burnett is his history of injuries. He has pitched 200 or more innings in a season just three times in his career. However, if Burnett can remain healthy, he is a dominant strikeout pitcher.
Burnett will likely be the team's No. 2 starter, behind Sabathia. His fantasy value does not figure to change drastically. However, he will be pitching for a more potent offensive club in the Yankees, which figures to give him more chances to notch victories. It also remains to be seen how Burnett will fare while pitching in a much higher level of scrutiny in New York. Fantasy gamers should consider Burnett a No. 3 fantasy starter, with the ability to perform like a No. 2 but the risk to be much worse.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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