It’s been over five years since the Yankees signed A.J. Burnett to a 5-year deal worth $82.5 million. Last season would have been the final year that Burnett donned Yankee pinstripes but he of course never made it that far.
The former Yankee started out great with the Yankees helping them win a World Series title while going 13-9 with a 4.04 ERA. That would be the closest Burnett would get to success while wearing a Yankees uniform.
Averaging a 10-13 record with a 5.20 ERA over the next two years, Burnett was shipped to the Pittsburgh. Once out of the spotlight and media frenzy of New York , the right-hander averaged a 13-10 record along with a 3.41 ERA in two years with the Pirates. It’s clear he wasn’t cut out for a big market team. Burnett recently reflected on the time he spent in the Bronx.
“I tried to do more than I was capable of doing, to prove to myself and the world that I was worth it,” he said. “After playing with Doc, I got away from the one-pitch-at-a-time theory in New York. It didn’t matter if I didn’t hit on a pitch or if my mechanics were off – I’ve got to make another pitch. That wasn’t on my mind. It was, ‘What’s happening? I’ve got to fix this.”
The 37-year-old loved being a part of the most historic franchise in sports. He even loves the fans there even though they clearly were not always on his side.
“Those fans were great, and they were on me because I gave them a reason to,” Burnett said. “If I went out there and did what A.J.’s capable of doing, we don’t even have this question.”
Burnett was contemplating retirement this off-season but ultimately decided he wanted to continue playing. Coming off arguably two of the best years of his career, the Phillies were willing to offer him a 1-year deal worth $16 million which was accepted. Although Philadelphia is a big market city, Burnett claims that never affected him.
“I’m not going to overdo anything here,” he said. “I learned a lot in New York. I take it all as a positive. My three years there were not good at all, but believe me, it had nothing to do with the market. I’m older. I get it now.”
The veteran has struggled so far this spring. In just nine innings, he has given up ten runs. As we all know, you can almost throw spring training numbers out the window. Once the real show begins, the Phillies hope and expect to get the A.J. Burnett of the last couple years.