Buster Olney Confuses Free Agents With Not Free Agents

So hey, the Yankees have been out doing some Christmas shopping for their fans, and don’t tell anyone yet, but there’s going to be a 311 pound guy wrapped in a ribbon under their tree. Not only that, there’s going to be a goateed 32 year old white guy with control problems and a pretty lousy injury history under the tree as well. Now, you can debate whether or not paying a 340 pound C.C. Sabathia about 27 million when he’s 34 is a good investment. And you can debate whether or not A.J. Burnett is actually worth 82 Million Dollars over five years. But what you can not do is pretend the Yankees are all of a sudden concerned about player development and developing good young pitchers.

But hey, guess what Buster Olney does? He says that because the Yankees didn’t trade Phil Hughes for Johann Santana, i.e. a guy for the Best Pitcher in Baseball, and instead waited to pay almost 250 Million Dollars for two guys, the Yankees are not falling back to their old ways of, um, just buying pitchers who may or may not be good and signing them to ludicrous contracts. But hey, thank God they still have Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.

Not only that, he loves that the Yankees have gotten younger than they were in 2004. Which is true, they have. Look at these lists

  1. Sabathia, 28 years old
  2. Burnett, 32
  3. Chien-Ming Wang, 29
  4. Andy Pettitte, 36; or Ben Sheets, 30; or Derek Lowe, 35
  5. Joba Chamberlain, 23
  1. Mike Mussina, 35
  2. Javier Vazquez, 27
  3. Jon Lieber, 34
  4. Brown, 39
  5. Jose Contreras, 32

So the Yankees have gotten out of their old ways because they have ONE (1) young homegrown pitcher in their rotation. Chien-Ming Wang? Signed as an amateur free agent, so if you count him, you also have to count Jose Contreras. Basically Buster Olney is thrilled because of Joba Chamberlain. But also that they’ve gotten younger! Look at that those ages! But wait, why were they so old in 2004? Was it signing players in the middle or tail end of their prime to long term contracts they couldn’t get out of? Let’s look at the 2009 rotation again, in Burnett’s next contract year.

  1. Sabathia, 33 Years Old
  2. Burnett, 37
  3. Wang, 34
  4. Pettitte 41, Sheets 35, or Lowe 40
  5. Chamberlain, 28

Well, at least they still have Joba, right? And Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy instead of Johann Santana, even though NEITHER OF THEM IS IN THE GODDAMN ROTATION!

So yes, maybe Sabathia will still be worth 26 Million at 34, and Burnett will still be worth 16 Million, and Wang will still be on the team, and they’ll replace their number 4 options with someone younger, and Joba Chamberlain won’t be getting 31 million a year. But Buster, let’s agree that the Yankees are doing exactly the same thing they always do. And they’ll have a good rotation this year, but these moves will bite them in the ass down the road. Just like always. Because for the Yankees, there is no long term.

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