I really cannot pretend to even find a way to justify inking a pitcher who rarely makes more than 30 starts a year and is damn near always on the disabled list to a five year contract worth $82 million, that is, if I were the general manager of a baseball franchise. However, I am not a GM, and not Brian Cashman, who has decided that after inking CC Sabathia to $161 million over seven years, signing A.J. Burnett was the next move.

I mean, after signing Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright, you’d think the franchise would be a bit more careful about pitchers breaking down. But, this is the consequence of the Yankees not making the playoffs because of their pitching, and some residual grumbling about not trading for Johan Santana, letting him go cross-borough to Queens. The very public growing pains of prospects Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy also added to the furor, I’d think — and now Hank “the Dauphin” Steinbrenner wants to make waves in order to get back to where the franchise believes it ought to be; what it believes is its birthright.

The benefit? If Burnett stays healthy, he strikes guys out. A lot. The Yankees are not a great defensive team to begin with. Any pitcher who gets outs without having the ball go off someone’s bat is a bonus, but particularly to a team that isn’t great around the horn.

All is right with the world again when the Yankees are blowing through money in free agency with an Alfred E. Neuman attitude towards the economic recession. Such is sport: the industries that are recession-proof are booze, cigarettes, porn, and the Yankees.

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