A.J. Burnett’s overall numbers are plenty good, as last night’s seven innings of one-run ball versus the Reds lowered his ERA to 3.60 in 50 innings.
However, one terrible start against the Cardinals on May 2 accounts for 60 percent of the earned runs Burnett has allowed all season. Seriously.
He coughed up 12 runs in 2.2 innings versus St. Louis that day and if you remove that ugly outing from his season totals Burnett has a 1.52 ERA and 40/13 K/BB ratio in 47 innings while holding opponents to a .208 batting average.
That one ugly start still happened, of course, so completely ignoring it would be silly, but considering how disappointing he was for the Yankees and how many people wrote him off as washed up Burnett deserves some attention. And the Pirates are looking plenty smart for taking him off the Yankees’ hands for pennies on the dollar.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.