Blog Entry

Update on Burnett-to-Pirates trade talks

Posted on: February 12, 2012 11:46 am
Edited on: February 12, 2012 3:45 pm
By Matt Snyder

This past week, trade talk connecting maligned Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett to the Pirates picked up. Here's the latest, via insider Jon Heyman.

The Yankees and Pirates are still talking and there's been "progress and continuing optimism" on getting a deal done. One obvious snag to this point has been money, as Burnett is due a whopping $33 million for the next two seasons. The Pirates are willing to take on more than $10 million while the Yankees would prefer a 50/50 split, but there are indications of a compromise on the horizon. Next, the Yankees are seeking "at least a reasonably decent prospect" in return, but the Pirates are actually more willing to compromise on the money issue than prospects.

Pirates, Yankees talk trade
Burnett, 35, was 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 173 strikeouts in 190 1/3 innings last season for the Yankees. He led the majors in wild pitches, one season after leading the majors in hit batsmen. He's currently ticketed to be the Yankees' fifth starter, but shedding his salary would help free up some extra money to sign a left-handed designated hitter like Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui.

If the proposed trade comes to fruition, Burnett would probably bump Jeff Karstens from the Pirates' rotation, joining Erik Bedard, James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Charlie Morton. Of course, Morton's health is in question to start the season and Bedard's health is pretty much always in question, so there would be a great bet that all six of the pitchers would get a good amount of starts.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 4:49 pm

Update on Burnett-to-Pirates trade talks

AJ is one of those guys who, when he is on, is awesome. Unfortunately, as a Yankee, he has been off way more than he's been on. He has good stuff but can't find the strike zone. Many analysts will tell you AJ has great stuff and that his problems are all mental. He lacks concentration, or he loses confidence in his fastball, or something along that line.

AJ has pitched a few brilliant games as a Yankee, but then followed it up with a complete bomb. He has pitched fabulously for four innings and then blown up in the fifth. In other games he's been hammered from the first batter and gone by the 3rd inning. You can see flashes of a good pitcher in him, but has never been able to maintain any consistency.

He is an emotional guy and can't handle the pressure of New York, that is evident. Yankee fans their moneies worth and expect him to be a $16M a year pitcher.  So, if he goes to Pittsburg and the Pirates pay $10M over two years, they have invested $5M a year for two years. In Pittsburg, the pressure is off. Pirates fans won't expect him to be a $16M pitcher. If the coaches can get inside his head and help him get control of his emotions he may be a decent $5M a year pitcher.
I know the Yankees want him gone, and it's a gamble for the Pirates, but when you look at it in terms of $5M a year, in terms of money it's not the worst deal in history. The gamble may net a good return for the Pirates.

If I was the GM for the Pirates, would I make this deal? HELL NO!!! But as a Yankee fan, I think they ought to make the gamblers move and go for it!!!

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 4:38 pm

Update on Burnett-to-Pirates trade talks

First of all, I'd take this guy today over Zach Duke 100 out of 100 times for whoever decided to compare the two. They aren't even in the same league. Secondly, Burnett isn't an ace by any means but he gives the Pirates their first legitimate front-line starter since...Hell, Doug Drabek? He's getting older and is owed a lot of money and for those reasons, the Pirates won't have to give up top notch prospects for him and the Yankees are eating a lot of the contract. He's getting out of the AL East and the pressure cooker of NY and going back to the pitcher-friendly NL (and more importantly the NL Central without Pujols, Fielder, and 50 games of Braun). His ERA will drop to 3.50-4.00 if this deal gets made. This would be a good move by the Pirates and at least make them a tough out in a weak division.

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 4:29 pm

Update on Burnett-to-Pirates trade talks

From a Yanks standpoint, giving up Burnett, even if subject to the irony of his bounce-back to real effectivenss (cf. Pavano), is well worth it: the dude cannot win in NYC, and is only useful for some funny over/under implosion discourse on the glogs. 

Since: Jan 25, 2008
Posted on: February 12, 2012 4:25 pm

Update on Burnett-to-Pirates trade talks

I agree.  Why on Earth would the Pirates even want this guy in their rotation if the Yankees gave him to them for free and paid his salary?  The Pirates should continue to build their farm system and then add free agents when their young players develop.  They aren't ready yet.

Since: Feb 14, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2012 4:17 pm

Update on Burnett-to-Pirates trade talks

the pirates have made some bad decisions, but aj burnett and zach duke arent anywhere close to being similar pitchers. burnett can be dominate at times because he does have very good stuff. i could see his era coming down by a pretty big margin being back in the NL and out of the AL east. and maholm would have made 9.5 million if they would have took his option this year.

Since: Nov 16, 2008
Posted on: February 12, 2012 4:03 pm

Update on Burnett-to-Pirates trade talks

There are bad baseball decisions, then there are deals like this that are insane.  The Bucs won't pay McCutchen or Walker, but they'll go out and pay a worse, right-handed Zach Duke $7-8 million/year.  They let Maholm go rather than pay him half the amount.  Younger, pitches more innings, lower ERA.  No reasonable analysis matters when you work with Great Deal Neal and the Finest Front Office Ever Assembled.

"Just Lose Baby!" 

Since: Feb 12, 2012
Posted on: February 12, 2012 3:49 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 3:45 pm

Update on Burnett-to-Pirates trade talks

Don't make this deal please!!  He's not worth any of our prospects or money!! The dude is a 5 inning pitcher, anything after that is a sight for sore eyes! Please noooooo!

Since: Nov 20, 2011
Posted on: February 12, 2012 3:24 pm

Update on Burnett-to-Pirates trade talks

See Pittsburgh, this is why you can't have good things.  Burnett is 35 and has been really bad the last couple years.  Paying more then 2 million a year for someone with his track record is stupidity.  Giving up a prosepct of any level is ridiculous.  Honestly,  I would rather have any of your five current starters before AJ.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 3:12 pm

Update on Burnett-to-Pirates trade talks

None them will be bumped.  Morton is out until at least May if not June.  By then I'm sure someone on the rotation will be injured and morton will replace said player.  You can't bump bedard since he is the team's only left handed starting pitcher.  I think if they can get burnett at a decent price, they should.  He could easily have a bounce year with less pressure and noteriety than NY...

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or