So, A.J. Burnett reportedly has agreed to terms on a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Yankees, giving them two of the top free-agent pitchers in this year's market for a combined price of $243.5 million.
The combined annual salary of CC and A.J. will be about $40 million, which probably sounds like a lot of money unless you're one of those corporate CEOs asking Congress for a bailout ... or you've got seemingly limitless revenues from your regional sports network and your brand new Yankee Stadium.
Of course, it is a lot of money and there is a great deal of risk involved even for the Yankees, though they have quite a bit of room on their outrageous payroll because of the departure of several big-money players (Bobby Abreu, Mike Mussina and Jason Giambi, to name a few). Sabathia has had weight issues and Burnett's medical history is well-known, so their newly revamped starting rotation appears to be more vulnerable than you would like for the price.
The Orioles' dalliance with Burnett was serious enough, but it was based on the notion that he wanted badly to play near his Monkton home. Andy MacPhail was never close to offering a comparable contract to the one he's expected to sign with the Yankees. The Orioles were stuck on three years and, based on the questions about A.J.'s durability, Andy's caution in this case was probably justified.