Ken Davidoff's baseball insider

Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.

Loose strands: A.J. Burnett, the sinking Mets, Carlos Zambrano and Logan Morrison

Apologies for no post yesterday, and even more so for not engaging with the commenters these last few days. For some reason, I haven't been able to access the comments.

Man, I feel like I'm leading the league in apologies this month.

Anyway, a few items today:

--With the Yankees getting rained out, I wrote about A.J. Burnett, and what should be done with him. Ultimately, I think Burnett is a significant longshot to be part of the Yankees' postseason rotation, and perhaps even the postseason roster altogether.

At this point, to me, Burnett's immediate future with the Yankees depends more on how the rest of the team's starting pitchers do. If Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia expire, or if Ivan Nova or Phil Hughes show signs that they can't keep it together, then Burnett has to get consideration. But if none of those things occur, even if Burnett pitches better starting tonight, can you really feel good about him going into October?

--The Mets lost again, their fifth straight defeat, and while it isn't Terry Collins' fault that so many key players either have suffered injuries or have been traded, he will be evaluated partly on what he can out of the club in these dog days. As we've discussed before, an improvement over last year's 79-83 showing and, even better, a winning record would both mark tangible signs of progress for the franchise. 

And the more this season fades to black, with Citi Field presumably becoming increasingly empty, the more we wonder whether the Mets should have been more interested in trading Jose Reyes. It's not like he's going to re-sign during the exclusivity window, so the Mets wouldn't have lost serious ground by trading him, stocking their chest with more young talent and then going after Reyes in free agency.

--Let's wrap up two wacky, non-New York incidents from over the weekend. The first stars Carlos Zambrano, who cleaned out his locker Friday night after getting pounded by the Braves and told people on the team he was going to retire.

The Cubs responded by placing Zambrano on the disqualified list, where he'll be without pay for 30 days, and the Players Association will file a grievance on Monday to challenge the decision.

The verdict: I don't see how this possibly holds up for the Cubs. Cleaning out your locker and telling people "I'm retiring" does not constitute retirement, in the legal sense. You know what constitutes retirement, in the legal sense. Signing retirement papers with an attorney present.

No, this seems like the Cubs trying to corral the emotional Zambrano once again, and it ain't gonna work. If the Cubs get away with fining Zambrano one day's pay, they should consider themselve victorious.

--Down in Miami, meanwhile, the Marlins optioned Logan Morrison to Triple-A New Orleans. Morrison reportedly believes it's related to a team event he skipped. 

From the outside, it's quite surprising, and Morrison _ who has been slumping lately, but has quite good numbers overall _ probably isn't off in his belief, given that Florida's front office is known for behaving in a vindictive fashion. But more specifically, Morrison's agent Fred Wray told the Palm Beach Post that he would speak to the Players Association concerning a potential grievance.

The verdict: Teams have a wide degree of latitude when it comes to promoting and demoting players with limited service time, as is the case with the sophomore Morrison. So I don't see how this constitues a grieveable offense.

Is it a dumb move? Quite likely. But that isn't the question.

--Have a great day.

Tags: A.J. Burnett , Terry Collins , Logan Morrison , Carlos Zambrano

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