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Saturday, February 18, 2012
Missing Links: A.J. appreciation, prospects, Yoga Dante

By Andrew Marchand

Let's do some Saturday Missing Links.

* Wally writes an appreciation of A.J. Burnett and it all comes down to one night:
As a Yankee, A.J. Burnett was often entertaining but seldom very good, and extremely expensive but rarely very valuable.

But on one night -- Oct. 29, 2009 -- Allan James Burnett was worth every penny the Yankees paid him.

Because simply put, if Burnett doesn't come back to win Game 2 of the 2009 World Series, the odds are Joe Girardi is still wearing No. 27 on his back. That is, if he's still the manager.

On that night, Burnett outdueled Pedro Martinez and took the World Series back from Cliff Lee, who threatened to make it his own after stifling the Yankees in Game 1.

For me, from the start I always thought Burnett's contract was a bad one. I call it the Neil O'Donnell theory. You can't expect a free agent to be better than he has performed in the past. The Jets, back in the day, gave O'Donnell a huge franchise player-type contract when he was just a caretaker with the Steelers. Burnett has always been the classic --  great stuff, OK results. The Yankees probably got a little worse than that. But they will always have Game 2 in 2009. To me, that wasn't enough. In the context of that free agent year, after CC Sabathia, the Yankees next choice was Derek Lowe so there probably wasn't a right answer after CC.

* Let's sneak behind the corporate wall (don't tell anyone) and see what Keith Law said about the Yankees prospects in the Burnett trade:
In return for Burnett and for covering most of his salary, the Yankees get two minor leaguers, neither of whom is a significant prospect. Moreno throws hard with good control numbers but doesn't command the ball; he's had both injury and disciplinary issues and passed through December's Rule 5 draft unscathed. Cayones can play either corner and perhaps in center, but doesn't project to hit enough to profile as a big leaguer. They're warm bodies to make it look like a trade, but the Pirates really just got a free major league pitcher for less salary than he's likely to be worth.

I had never heard of either right-handed reliever Diego Moreno or outfielder Exicardo Cayones before the trade, but, all along, we knew the Yankees weren't receiving anything of consequence. They didn't.

* It turns out first rounder Dante Bichette Jr. is a little earthy. He is into yoga and gives it a lot of credit for his success. He thanks mom more than his more famous dad. Here is Kernan from the Post:
“All the off-the-field stuff, I have to give 100 percent credit to my mom,’’ Bichette told The Post at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “From the time I was a little kid, she taught me, first off, to be respectful to adults. She has me do yoga to keep flexible. She also puts a lot of emphasis on prayer, you have got to remember who has given you the abilities to do things and give thanks for that.’’

When he started yoga his freshman year in high school, Bichette hated it.

“But now I love doing it,” he said, “because it keeps me healthy.”


Bichette could one day be the man to replace A-Rod at third. Bichette Sr. and Joe Girardi are very close, by the way.