A.J. Burnett Was Not a Complete Failure for the New York Yankees

John NizinskiAnalyst IIIFebruary 20, 2012

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 04:  A J Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees pitches in the sixth inning during Game Four of the American League Divison Series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on October 4, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Yankees defeated the Tigers 10-1.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

A.J. Burnett's Yankee career is officially over as he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. While many fans will feel relieved, Burnett's time with the Yankees should not be seen as a complete waste.

Burnett did have his struggles with the Yankees. In three seasons, Burnett was 34-35 with a 4.79 ERA. Burnett basically pitched his way off of the team in the last two seasons, as he lost his way and never found it. He was 21-26, with a 5.20 ERA in the last two seasons.

The Yankees are a team that expects to be in the playoffs every single season. The Yankees were in the playoffs all three seasons Burnett was with them, and his postseason numbers do not jump out at you either. He was combined 2-2 with a 5.08 ERA in the playoffs.

The Yankees' starting rotation was a question mark after last season. However, the additions of Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda have gotten rid of the concern. What their additions also did was give the Yankees a surplus of starting pitchers. This allowed the Yankees to shed a starter from their overcrowded rotation. That victim was Burnett.

Although Burnett will most likely be seen as a waste of money or a bust, he did have some strong moments that helped the Yankees. In his first season in 2009, Burnett started off 2-0 and helped the Yankees stay afloat as they struggled in April.

He finished the 2009 season 13-9 with a 4.04 ERA. While that may not be the season the Yankees were completely hoping for, it still was a decently solid season.

In the ALDS against the Twins, Burnett pitched six innings of three-hit and one-run ball, and was crucial in the Yankees' series sweep. He then only gave up two runs in Game 2 of the ALCS, which the Yankees won over the Angels in extra innings.

Burnett's greatest moment with the Yankees came in Game 2 of the 2009 World Series. The Yankees lost a crucial Game 1 to the Phillies at home and had they lost in Game 2, they would have gone back to Philadelphia for three games, down in the series 0-2.

Burnett made sure the Yankees didn't have to worry about that as he defeated Pedro Martinez and shut down the Phillies offense. He pitched seven innings, striking out nine and giving up only one run. This was the turning point in the series that eventually ended with the Yankees defeating the Phillies in six games.

Burnett got off to a strong 6-2 start in 2010, however the departure of pitching coach Dave Eiland started a trend of awful pitching that Burnett never ended.

His final moment with the Yankees was a good one, as he temporarily kept the Yankees alive against the Detroit Tigers in the 2011 ALDS.

The Yankees needed a starter for Game 4 and hesitantly turned to Burnett. Burnett got two outs in the sixth inning and gave up just one run before being pulled. The Yankees would lose the series in the next game, and that was the last time we would see Burnett pitch in a Yankees uniform.

Between the pies to the face and the occasional dominating performance, Burnett's time with the Yankees should not be remembered as a complete waste.