First, what happened to the videos of A.J. Burnett cursing out Joe Girardi for pulling him — that’s what happened: Burnett and Girardi know it, I know it, we all know it — in the second inning of Saturday’s 9-4 loss to the Twins? Saturday night you could find half a dozen videos of Burnett’s hissy fit, but as of Monday afternoon, we seem to be limited to a single YouTube clip of a few seconds where you can see Burnett mouthing something as he walks away from the mound.
I can understand how the YES Network could have been pressured to take it off the air, but what’s wrong with ESPN and Fox Sports (which is showing only handful of inconclusive stills)?
Girardi’s hilarious postgame response to “What happened between you and A.J. out there?” was “What do you mean?”
And now that is going to be allowed to stand as the official team response to Saturday’s debacle?
Nothing happened, even though millions saw it on TV? Both Burnett and Girardi were simply a little pissed off because Joe Mauer should have been down on strikes?
What happened is that A.J. Burnett, himself humiliated by yet another wretched performance, in turn humiliated his manager on TV, and, essentially, got away with it. Has any player since the Steinbrenner era began dealt out more crap to his team than A.J. Burnett? And why have the Yankees put up with it?
We all know the answer to that one: because they paid Burnett so much money and are afraid that cutting him loose now would embarrass them even more.
Weak, silly responses have dribbled from the mouths of Girardi and Brian Cashman to the effect that the Yankees can’t cut Burnett loose just yet because they’re going to need a sixth arm for Saturday’s doubleheader with Baltimore. Really? Isn’t there some kid at Columbus or at an even lower level — right about now we’ll settle for Staten Island — who could do no worse than Burnett’s 1 2/3 stint against Minnesota?
The Yankees’ company line as to why they let this petty, self-centered prima donna get away with this behavior is an insult to the intelligence of their own fans, as is Burnett’s presence on the team roster.
Little more than a week ago, Cashman was still defending Burnett’s pitching, which, of course, means defending his own decision to have signed him in the first place even though, backed by the best hitting in baseball, he has been a less than .500 pitcher for nearly three seasons.
As of a short time ago, it appears, the front office may have started to see the light. Cashman told ESPN.com’s Andrew Marchand that Burnett’s contract will not prevent him from being dropped from the rotation.
Since there is absolutely no reason, based on Burnett’s performance this season — he’s 9-10 with a 4.96 ERA and a bullpen-draining average of 6 innings per start — for him to be in the rotation, or even on the roster, the Yankees had better be preparing themselves to eat the rest of his contract if they’re serious about winning the AL pennant.