Yankees fans can't just write off A.J. Burnett

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I understand why they may want to write him off, because boy howdy has he been awful.  He got shelled last night. He’s been shelled a lot this year.  While he has had some bad luck in recent starts due to weather and other things, it’s hard to argue against the notion that he has earned that 10-15 record and 5.33 ERA.

It’s a performance — combined with Phil Hughes’ nice outing on Sunday — that almost certainly means that Burnett won’t get a start in the ALDS.  The Yankees could go Sabathia-Pettitte-Hughes and use Sabathia once on short rest if need be. It’s certainly what I’d do.

But if they make it beyond the first round they pretty much have to use Burnett, because I can’t see Sabathia AND Pettitte AND Hughes going on short rest, nor can I see the Yankees as an organization using Ivan Nova over Burnett unless there is just no shot whatsoever that Burnett can throw some half-decent baseball. And while he’s been bad, he hasn’t shown that he’s utterly lost or hurt or something.

Boo him today Yankees fans because, let’s face it, he’s earned it. But you’re going to have to get behind A.J. Burnett if the team is to go deep into the postseason.  Well, maybe you don’t have to get behind him, but you’re going to have to depend on him.

Mets trade Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers

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The Mets traded centerfielder Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers for cash considerations or a player to be named later, the teams announced late Friday night. Granderson was rumored to be drawing interest from teams earlier in the week, and found a landing place after slashing .256/.360/.721 since the start of the month. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers designated right-hander Dylan Floro for assignment to clear roster space for the outfielder.

As a whole, the 36-year-old’s 2017 campaign has been a tad underwhelming. Granderson entered Saturday batting .228/.334/.481 with 19 home runs and an .815 OPS through 395 PA, and accrued 1.7 fWAR to the 5.1 fWAR he produced during his pennant-winning, MVP-contending season in 2015. Still, with under $4 million remaining on his contract, another 20+ homer season around the corner and the defensive chops to man center field, it looks like a prudent deal for the Dodgers as they continue to bulldoze their way to the playoffs this fall.

The club has yet to outline their plans for Granderson, but his addition to a crowded outfield could displace centerfielder Joc Pederson, who turned in a meager .214/.329/.415 batting line through 292 PA in 2017. It could also have ramifications for fellow veteran Andre Ethier, assuming he’s healthy enough to compete for a starting role when he comes off the 60-day disabled list in September. The Mets, meanwhile, are expected to lean more heavily on rookie outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s made just five starts this season after struggling to get consistent playing time on the field.

Corey Kluber exits game with right ankle sprain

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Indians’ right-hander Corey Kluber was removed from the sixth inning of his start on Friday night, bringing a streak of 14 starts with 8+ strikeouts to an unfortunate end after he sprained his right ankle. Kluber stumbled off the mound while trying to field a base hit from Eric Hosmer and was seen visibly limping as he moved to cover first base. He was allowed to stay in the game for one more batter, but quickly yielded a three-pitch single to Melky Cabrera and left the mound with head athletic trainer James Quinlan.

It was a poor ending to another strong outing by the right-hander, who delivered 5 1/3 innings of one-run, four-strikeout ball and took his 12th win of the season after the Indians amassed a nine-run lead. Postgame comments by Cleveland skipper Terry Francona suggest that Kluber isn’t facing a serious setback after sustaining the sprain, however, and might even be good to go by the time his next start comes around on Wednesday.

While the Royals escaped Friday’s loss without injury, the 10-1 drubbing pushed them 6.5 games back of the division lead and half a game behind the Twins and Angels for the second AL wild card berth. They’ll host a rematch on Saturday at 7:15 ET, with left-hander Jason Vargas set to face off against Indians’ righty Trevor Bauer.