Brian Cashman: “I don’t want a guy walking off the mound singing ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’”

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Brian Cashman is not going to put his life on the line for A.J. Burnett. As the New York Post reports this morning, Burnett only has one more guaranteed start, and that’s this Friday against the Orioles. The next time he starts after that the rosters will be expanded and the Yankees, who have a couple of pretty decent starter prospects down on the farm, may sit Burnett for a while.

But at the same time, Cashman is not going to throw Burnett under the bus. As Marc Carig reports in the Star-Ledger, Cashman admits that Burnett has been bad, saying that he’s been “pedestrian at best.” He also said that the whole A.J.-cussing-out-Girardi thing was both misinterpreted and overblown, and that in his mind, it’s far preferable to a guy having no cares in the world out there:

“I’ve got CC Sabathia cussing in his glove, I’ve got Paul O’Neill, who for a huge run here, was kicking water coolers. It’s not an issue. It’s just silliness. I’ve got other guys on our team doing the same stuff,” Cashman said. “I like seeing passion. I don’t want a guy walking off the mound singing ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’ and having a skip to his step after a performance like that.”

Good point from Cashman who, as he has increasingly done over the past year or two, puts it quite amusingly as well.

Fact is, if a guy sucks in New York and he’s calm about it, he doesn’t care and has no fire. If a guy sucks in New York and he rants and raves, he has lost his cool.  You can’t win in New York.  Unless, of course, you’re winning, in which case you can do whatever the hell you want to.

Braves are targeting Dallas Keuchel

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LAS VEGAS — Let’s start our first weekday of the Winter Meetings with some rumors and speculation. We’ll have a good bit of that until, you know, something actually happens.

First up: Dallas Keuchel, the top free agent pitcher remaining on the market. Jon Heyman says the Braves, who are in the market for a starter, are targeting him. In this they are not alone, as the Phillies, who missed out on Patrick Corbin, and the Reds, who would like a pitcher who doesn’t allow a lot of fly balls are each reported to be focused on Keuchel as well. There was a random report that the Blue Jays were interested in him too, but that seems off to me given where they are on their rebuild.

Keuchel, who will turn 31 on New Year’s Day, was 12-11 in 34 starts last year, posting an ERA of 3.74 in 204.2 innings. His peripherals have declined fairly consistently since his Cy Young season in 2015, so the question is whether the team that signs him is paying for his past or for what he might reasonably be expected to provide in the future.