Burnett; The Most Important Piece

Chad MatejickaContributor IJuly 21, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 27:  A.J. Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees pitches against the New York Mets on June 27, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

With the trade deadline fast approaching and Chien-Ming Wang still hurt, expect the Yankees to trade for another starter not named Roy Halladay to bolster the back end of their rotation.  

The Yankees are content on not trading their top prospects like Austin Jackson nor promising young players like Phil Hughes.  Add in the fact that the Yankees are an inter-division opponent and the fact that the Yankees are already paying luxury tax, the likelihood of acquiring Halladay is slim to none.  

This scenario results in A.J. Burnett becoming the single most important Yankee of the 2009 season.  Burnett must pitch up to expectations and with C.C. Sabathia, form the best 1-2 combination in baseball.  Burnett is capable of being a #1 pitcher on many MLB teams and with the Yankees offense and not having the pressure of being the top starter, there is no reason why Burnett can not be another #1 on this team.  

Burnett possesses a mid 90's fastball and nasty off speed pitches but must learn to control his walks.  Walks in the post-season will come back to bite him and the Yankees chances of winning a championship.  Burnett instead needs to trust the great stuff that he has.  Too many times Burnett provides hitters with good pitches to hit when he is ahead in the count.  Limiting these mistakes will enable Burnett to develop into a top starter that he is capable of and more importantly form a duo with Sabathia that will be near impossible to beat.  

Only then will it be Burnett's turn to receive the many pies to the face that he is used to delivering for being the player of the game.