Why AJ Burnett Must Be Bounced from the New York Yankees Rotation

Raul RodriguezContributor IIIAugust 13, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 09:  A.J. Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees looks on from the bench during the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on August 09, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

To me, the decision for Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees has to be easy. Allow Phil Hughes to remain in the rotation and show what he's got. On the other hand is AJ Burnett.

AJ Burnett has failed to record a win since June 28. Over a month and this guy still can't get a win with one of the most prolific offenses in the MLB. It's a lineup that just never seems to end. Brett Gardner is a scrappy hitter who will foul pitches off over and over. Derek Jeter is Derek Jeter, a hitter usually known to hit pitches the other way. Then there's Curtis Granderson who slugs homeruns. Mark Teixeira is a duplicate of Granderson, except with a lower average. Robinson Cano comes up next, as he is a major bopper.

Those main five are as productive as can be (only the Boston Red Sox put up better production). Yet AJ Burnett has not found a way to win with them. He's been an enigma for the past two seasons. Apparently, there's a good and bad Burnett.

This season's included mostly bad Burnett towards the latter part of it.

Phil Hughes, on the other hand, has shown improvement throughout the year. He started the season in a horrible fashion, not being able to even pitch five innings to qualify for a win. His ERA was in the double-digits as well.

Lately, Phil Hughes has been exactly what the New York Yankees need from a number three-type starter in the rotation. I would give Ivan Nova the nod for the number two spot as of now, but Phil Hughes has been very productive after his name was up in the air as a bullpen candidate.

Phil Hughes has had two straight six inning performances. One against the Chicago White Sox, in which he gave up no runs. And now today, a start in which Phil Hughes gave up two runs in those six innings of work. Hughes might have been able to go seven innings, as he came back in the sixth after giving up a lead-off homerun to Desmond Jennings and a triple to Johnny Damon.

Brian Cashman needs to give the job to Phil Hughes. Before the games today and yesterday, Cashman simply stated that he believes in AJ Burnett's ability and no one should judge the guy based on his contract. Cashman said it was his fault for giving Burnett the contract and that AJ shouldn't be viewed in a different scope because of the deal.

What Brian Cashman said really frustrates me. Absolutely no one is just criticizing AJ Burnett because of his massive contract. Of course it's Cashman's fault for signing Burnett to such a big deal.

However, if you look at AJ's numbers objectively, not keeping money in mind, it becomes very apparent why he is being criticized right now. After having a 4.03 ERA in late June, AJ Burnett now has a 4.60 ERA and an 8-9 record, which is horrible.

No matter what type of contract a player is signed to, the numbers in and of themselves are absolutely horrendous. Even a rookie pitcher in Ivan Nova has given New York Yankees fans and Joe Girardi more faith. That's saying something, especially for a guy in Nova who was a question mark at the beginning of the season and who was demoted when Phil Hughes returned from the DL.

Brian Cashman, please do the right thing and do not look at the contract. Accept the fact that no one is judging AJ Burnett because of the contract. Do the right thing for the team by Monday! Thanks...