With the trade deadline approaching, we take a look at two of Brian Cashman’s most recent trades, and how they predictably turned out to be complete duds.

Paying AJ Burnett to play in Pittsburgh

When the Yankees traded AJ Burnett to the Pirates in February, they agreed to pay nearly $20 million of the remaining $33 million due on Electric Stuff’s contract. Here’s what we wrote about 10 days before the trade actually happened:

There is no question that the AJ Burnett signing was a mistake. However, if the Yankees have to eat the bulk of his remaining $33 million, trading him would also be a mistake. It would be a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

While Electric Stuff is not the top-tier pitcher Cashman and Co. stupidly thought he was, he’d actually make a great 5th starter. His peripherals last year were actually pretty good (3.86 xFIP). His strikeout rate vastly improved in 2011 over 2010 (8.18 K/9 v 6.99). He suffered from an abnormally high HR/FB of 17%. He’s only 2 years removed from a 3.5 WAR season. If the home runs normalize a bit and he keeps all the other rates around the same level, you’re looking at a fantastic 5th starter.

Everyone knows Burnett’s been a huge disappointment. We’ve made fun of him at every opportunity. But if the Yankees trade him while eating a ton of salary, it would be an overreaction to the original mistake they made. Burnett could really tear it up compared to other 5th starters around baseball.


And like we thought, Pittsburgh made a steal of a deal. Over 100 innings, Electric Stuff has a 3.78 ERA/3.43 FIP/3.43 xFIP — all while the Yankees subsidize the Pirates.

The comforts of the National League cannot be ignored, but all signs in 2011 pointed to Burnett being a quality starter in 2012. Granted, the Yankees mistakenly signed him to be a top-of-the-rotation guy and that didn’t happen, but THEY WERE PAYING HIM ANYWAY. Heck, they could have made him a reliever or spot starter if they wanted.

Instead, they’re wiring money to Pittsburgh and watching Electric Stuff pitch the Pirates to one of their best seasons in years.

It was just bad business.

George Kontos to San Fran for Chris Stewart

In what’s showing inklings of being Tyler Clippard-esque, George Kontos has dazzled since being traded to the People’s Republic of San Francisco.

He started the year off in the minors, but got called up after pitching to a 1.71 ERA/2.73 FIP in 32 AAA innings. In 14 major league innings, he’s struck out 16, walked only 2, and generated a 60.5% groundball rate. He has a 2.57 ERA/2.13 FIP/2.35 xFIP. The sample size here is still very small, but considering Chris Stewart (.572 OPS, 49 wRC+) is the type of player you find hanging around minor league clubhouses playing hot seat pranks, this looks like an absolutely terrible deal.