Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

Sunday reading: A.J. Burnett, Prince Fielder and Carlos Beltran

 Off yesterday's Yankees game, I wrote about A.J. Burnett. What, you thought I was going to write about Ramiro Pena?

It was Burnett's worst day as a Yankee, easily. Now, having written that, I'm still surprised by the vitriol I sense from Yankees fans toward Burnett. Indeed, I've heard the name Carl Pavano invoked more than once.

And Good Lord, that's just wrong. Pavano stole money from the Yankees for four years. Burnett is a meathead whom the Yankees foolishly overpaid, and he's met any reasonable expectations of the last year and a half.

The five-year, $82.5-million contract is just going to grow uglier as we move forward, you'd think. At the moment, though, Burnett is still a viable major-league starter. He's just a frustratingly inconsistent and unreliable starter, is all.

--For my Sunday Insider (alternatively known as the 7th-Inning Stretch), I wrote about Prince Fielder, baseball's next collective bargaining agreement, R.A. Dickey and George Steinbrenner.

--Speaking of The Boss, here's our latest coverage, including a story from Steinbrenner's funeral site yesterday and terrific Mark Herrmann pieces from Old Timers' Day about Reggie Jackson and a missed Yogi Berra.

--Damaso Marte is back on the disabled list, and the Yankees can talk all they want about how they wouldn't have won the World Series last year without Marte's contributions. I don't know. A three-year, $12-million commitment for seven really good postseason outings (so far) seems a little pricey to me. Or, to go back some time on this one, the Yankees could've paid a $6 million team option on Marte for 2009, enjoyed that strong postseason and then wished him well.

--The Mets lost, dropping them to 0-3 since Carlos Beltran returned, which means I'm wondering when inhabitants of the yakosphere (copyright Neil Best) will start blaming Beltran for disrupting the team's chemistry. It's got to happen, right?

--Jerry Manuel discussed the Mets' need for a starting pitcher, which became all the more glaring last night after Hisanori Takahashi's dreadful performance. The irony is, the worse the Mets play leading up to the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline, the more they should consider not giving up pieces for a starter. If they're going to fall out of contention, there's something to be said for focusing on development and improvement, IMO, and building toward something greater than just a one-year run.

--The most intriguing out-of-town result came in Cincinnati, where Edinson Volquez returned with a flourish, beating the Rockies in his first start back from Tommy John surgery (and a suspension for a failed drug test). I'm curious to see how Volquez does in his next start - it figures that he had extra energy last night, for his first start back - but if he can pitch even close to how he did against Colorado, the Reds will indeed have made a major acquisition.

--Self-promotion alert: I'll be on "Sports Extra" tonight at 10:30, on Fox 5 in New York, with Duke Castiglione.

--And finally, the live chat returns tomorrow morning at 11. "I was out sunbathing" is not a legitimate excuse for missing it. 

--Have a great day.



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