Santana & Burnett- New York Nightmares?
The Mets owe ace lefty Johan Santana over $107.5 million over the rest of his contract and the Yankees owe AJ Burnett over $57.25 million over the rest of his contract, according to Cot’s MLB Contracts.
So if you’re a fan of a New York team, you should probably be alarmed by the 17 earned runs Santana has allowed over his last 25 2/3 innings pitched in his previous four starts and the whopping 29 earned runs Burnett has allowed over his last five starts and 22 2/3 innings. Burnett has lost his last five decisions, including a 9-4 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday, and has seen his ERA skyrocket from a respectable 3.72 to a disastrous 5.25. His 1.54 WHIP is pathetic and though pretty lame as an excuse, his struggles coincides with the leave of absence of pitching coach Dave Eiland. But for a pitcher who’s been around for so long to blame his struggles on a coach is a sign of some serious weakness, so it has to be something deeper. But until the Yankees can find what’s ailing Burnett physically or psychologically, they’ll continue to trot out a serious liability every five days in a high-stakes, three-team division race where every game and start can be crucial.
The Mets find themselves in their own incredibly important pennant race and should be equally concerned that their largest investment is on the decline with his strikeout numbers down and his hits allowed up, and that he currently is their clear-cut number two starter this season behind Mike Pelfrey. Santana gave up five runs in six innings in a 6-0 Saturday loss to Minnesota, including four runs in the first against his former team. I won’t even take this offseason sexual misconduct scenario into account, but it has to play a role in some way, does it not? Either way, two New York pitchers who are set to make a ton of guaranteed money are struggling mightily and making the two clubs very, very nervous about their short and long-term futures.
Around The Majors
-Minnesota needed Carl Pavano’s three-hit shutout on Saturday, because the White Sox can not lose and have a certain flair for the dramatic. Paul Konerko broke a 2-2 tie in the 8th inning with a solo blast off top Cubs prospect Andrew Cashner, his incredible 19th of the year, and Matt Thornton sealed the White Sox’s 11th straight win with a scoreless 9th. Chicago trails Minnesota by just 1.5 games in the AL Central and their June run is completely out of the blue and 100 percent astoundingly unexpected. With Chi-city fans celebrating a Blackhawks title and the infusion of a couple of superstar basketball players, the contending White Sox is just icing on the cake for citizens of the Second City.
-Speaking of the Second City, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was pretty sure that Carlos Zambrano played his last game as a Cub despite over $44 million in guaranteed money over the rest of his contract. He was suspended indefinitely by the team after a huge outburst and fight with veteran leader Derek Lee after allowing four runs in the first inning in a Friday loss to the White Sox. It’s going to be incredibly difficult to trade Big Z so finding a role for him for a long period of time could be incredibly difficult. The Cubbies are in such a tough spot here and I can’t think of a solution. But if Milton Bradley could be traded, so could Zambrano so we’ll see.
-Tampa Bay has found themselves a stud. David Price’s rise to an elite starting pitcher has been quick and quiet to most, but his AL leading 11th win perhaps should send a signal to the rest of baseball that this kid is one of the best hurlers in the game. Price fanned 11 while allowing just two runs in eight innings as the Rays beat Arizona 5-3. His 2.44 ERA is second in the AL and he ranks in the top 10 in the AL in winning percentage, walks and innings pitched. And right now I can’t think of a pitcher more deserving in the league for the Cy Young award.
-Further south in the state of Florida, the signals are growing stronger that Bobby Valentine will be the next manager of the Marlins sometime this week. With interleague play ending, 1B coach Dave Collins resigned from his position out of the blue after surviving the firing of manager Fredi Gonzalez (who is the overwhelming frontrunner to succeed Bobby Cox in Atlanta) and this likely means that Valentine is assembling a staff and it’s only a matter of time before he’s manager. It would be cool if he managed his first game this week against his former team, the Mets, in Puerto Rico but it looks like he’ll start next weekend.
-Dusty Baker continues to pull rabbits out of hats in Cincinnati after the Reds won their 5th straight game, 6-4 over rival Cleveland. Cincy scored two in the 5th and three in the 6th to take the lead for good, and Arthur Rhodes pitched another scoreless inning to lower his ERA to 0.28 and ran his scoreless streak to 31 innings. Scott Rolen drove in his 49th run and Francisco Cordero saved his 20th game in the win. I don’t know how the hell they’re doing this, so as much as I give Baker heat I have to give him props for what he’s doing here.
-Speaking of giving out props in the NL Central, Colby Rasmus has developed into one of the most underrated power hitters in baseball, which is excusable considering he has Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Ryan Ludwick hitting in the same lineup. But former top prospect Colby Rasmus is absolutely crushing the baseball this season with 15 homers, 14 doubles and two triples and 39 RBIs. He’s 6th in the NL in homers, third in the NL with a .568 slugging percentage and 5th in the NL with a .945 OPS. Rasmus’ .286 isolated power is 5th in all of baseball and he’s only 23 years old. Sounds like St. Louis found themselves another young stud.
-WAR calculates that Dustin Pedroia is currently the 8th hardest offensive player in baseball to replace, but that’s what Boston will have to do after his broken foot. They acquired Eric Patterson to fill the void but it will be insanely difficult to replicate what he gives to the team. Luckily they also have the 6th hardest (Adrian Beltre) and 12th toughest (Kevin Youkilis) players to replace so we’ll see how the Boston offense responds. Either way, it’s a huge loss for the next few weeks that will test the team’s resolve.
Despite being 14 games out of first place, Seattle reacquired 1B/DH Russell Branyan from Cleveland for two minor leaguers.
Ezequiel Carrera is a 23-year-old OF placeholder in AAA and Advanced-A SS Juan Diaz, who’s batting .295 with seven homers and 41 RBIs and seems like an OK hitter. I don’t understand why the Mariners would make this deal so many games out of firsst place but good job by Cleveland getting two minor leaguers from him.