When the Yankees signed AJ Burnett for five years and a billion dollars, I was aghast. Not because of the money, because I don’t care so much about that, but because of the five years of having to watch AJ Burnett do his girl with the curl thing. And I was convinced that there was no way he would pitch 200 innings for the team.
But the plan worked. The Yankees won the World Series. And now I can live with his contract and not call it bad because it worked out exactly like it was supposed to.
AJ was AJ all season long (for better or worse) and made every start he was scheduled to make. CC Sabathia quietly put together an excellent regular season and then not-so quietly followed it up with a tremendous postseason. Mark Teixeira hit a lot of baseballs very hard and can actually make a decent throw to second base.
Beyond the “No duh” free agent signings, the team’s first offseason acquisition Nick Swisher put together a season much better than even the bounceback we expected. Andy Pettitte’s shoulder held out for the whole year. Alex Rodriguez came back way earlier than expected from hip surgery and saved us all from having to watch Cody Ransom allegedly play baseball for another month. Daniel Cabrera was cut from the Orioles before the season began so Derek Jeter wasn’t plunked on the hand and hurt all year again.
Everybody stayed healthy once they got that way. Everybody played to the best of their abilities. And that’s why the Yankees won.
I am so glad to have had the pleasure of watching this team. Nine years isn’t actually a lot of time between Championships but it felt like forever to me because I am greedy and care too much and have high expectations.