Blog Entry

Indians interested in Hafner-Burnett swap

Posted on: February 14, 2012 2:48 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 3:05 pm
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By C. Trent Rosecrans

While CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports the Yankees and Pirates are still hoping to get a deal done that would send A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh, he also notes the Angels and Indians have tried to get in on the talks for Burnett.

While the Angels are on Burnett's no-trade clause, the Indians deal could make some sense. The two teams are discussing sending Travis Hafner to New York in exchange for the much maligned right-hander.

So does it make sense for the Indians? Perhaps.

Let's not make any mistake, Burnett's not been good as a Yankee and he's certainly not been $82.5 million good. But it's also a mistake to dismiss Burnett as a someone who doesn't belong in the big leagues or in a rotation. The right-hander has enough stuff to tempt a team to give him big money -- in fact before the Yankees splurged on Burnett, the Blue Jays spent a lot of money on him.

Let's get the first part out of the way, Burnett, despite early concerns in his career, has been durable, starting 32 or more games in each of the last four seasons. In 2008, he led the American League with 34 starts and threw 221 1/3 innings. Last season, for all the complaints and even some early hooks, he threw 190 1/3 innings, averaging nearly six innings a start. He still struck out 173 batters -- he can miss bats. He also misses the glove too much, throwing a big-league most 25 wild pitches, hitting nine batters and walking 83.

While Burnett's road ERA was actually worse than his home ERA, he did give up homers at a slightly lower rate away from Yankee Stadium.

Burnett's ERA last season 5.15 -- not exactly a number you want to see in the probables -- but his xFIP (Fielding Independent Pitching -- a measure of things pitchers are directly responsible for, while taking away the ability of his fielders and normalized for his ballpark) was a respectable 3.86. To put that in perspective, that was better than the likes of Mark Buehrle (4.14), Ervin Santana (3.93) and Trevor Cahill (3.90), and not much worse than the likes of Ryan Vogelsong (3.85), Jered Weaver (3.80) and Matt Cain (3.78). His career xFIP is 3.78 -- better than his career ERA of 4.10.

Burnett can add 10 teams to his no-trade list each season, with word that most of those teams are on the West Coast.

It still seems like the Pirates are the team that will get Burnett -- and he should help them -- picking up as little as $13 million of the $33 million owed to Burnett for the final two years of his contract.

The Indians still owe Hafner $13 million for this season and have an option for $13 million next season with a $2.75 million buyout, meaning they owe less than half of what they'd be on the line to pay Burnett. To make the deal, the Indians would likely need some money sent back to Cleveland, if not the $20 million they're willing to eat in a deal with the Pirates.

For the Yankees, Hafner is an upgrade of Russell Branyan or Andruw Jones, the two best candidates currently on the roster. Pronk's not the same hitter the Indians signed to a six-year, $66.1 million deal before the 2007 season, but he's still dangerous when at the plate, despite his injury concerns.

Hafner's home run rate has dropped from one per every 10.8 at-bats in 2006 to one every 25 at-bats last season (and a best of one every 21.1 at-bats in 2009 since 2006). But if he's healthy, his left-handed stroke would work well in new Yankee Stadium. While his power numbers have dropped, he still got on-base at a .361 rate, good for a 126 OPS+.

As for the Indians, a rotation with Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Derek Lowe, Burnett and Josh Tomlin should help in their chase with the Tigers.

In the end, it all comes down to money and just how much the Yankees would take off of Burnett's salary for 2013, but New York may not want to give much if they're taking Hafner's $13 million this season and the buy-out.

The Pirates have some good, young prospects and could offer more future talent while the Yankees could add one of the veteran free agent DHs still left on the market like Vladimir Guerrero or Johnny Damon at little financial hit.

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Comments

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2012 10:50 am
 

Indians interested in Hafner-Burnett swap

To make the deal, the Indians would likely need some money sent back to Cleveland, if not the $20 million they're willing to eat in a deal with the Pirates

The Indians would have to send money to Cleveland? Spell check please.
Dude.  It said Indians would likely need some money sent back to Cleveland.  Check your own spelling/logic before you start ripping others.



Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2012 8:17 am
 

Indians interested in Hafner-Burnett swap


The Indians still owe Hafner $13 million for this season and have an option for $13 million next season with a $2.75 million buyout, meaning they owe less than half of what they'd be on the line to pay Burnett. To make the deal, the Indians would likely need some money sent back to Cleveland, if not the $20 million they're willing to eat in a deal with the Pirates

The Indians would have to send money to Cleveland? Spell check please. Also not to just show errors, this is a huge swap for the Indians if they can get the Yanks to pick up $20M like they would for the Pirates because as bad as Burnett has been, the pressure would be way less extreme and he would be pitching in the AL Central as a 3-5 starter! I do think the Nl suits him better, but putting him in a situation with far less pressure can't hurt since Pronk is out all the time, mine as well add a innings eater and hope it pays dividends especially if they want to close the gap of Detroit.



Since: Mar 8, 2007
Posted on: February 14, 2012 9:52 pm
 

Indians interested in Hafner-Burnett swap

Burnett owed 33 million for the next two years. Hafner will be getting 15.75 million which includes the buyout. Not sure if the Yankees really want Hafner who can't play the field. They have interest in Ibanez because he can go to left field occasionally.



Since: Jan 19, 2009
Posted on: February 14, 2012 5:23 pm
 

Indians interested in Hafner-Burnett swap

yeah i'm  alife long red sox fan, every yr yanks create a sweetheart deal pronk for hafner is ...unbelievable   Th eyanks rid themselves of that idiot and get an up and down power hitter who always become UP when they put on stripes.  dont do it cleve! 



Since: Mar 27, 2008
Posted on: February 14, 2012 5:08 pm
 

Indians interested in Hafner-Burnett swap

angels and yanks have a bitter fued that goes way back.



Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: February 14, 2012 4:10 pm
 

Indians interested in Hafner-Burnett swap

Just when I thought the Pirates would take AJ outta NY, in comes the Tribe. What is Derek Lowe not enough of a rotation risk?  Where`s Felix Herida Hernandez??  Please take AJ, Pronk would mash at Ynakee stadiums RF porch. These stat geeks are too much...Fielding Independent Pitching???  A 5+ ERA=a bad pitcher.  Mkae the deal Tribe, take AJ please!   


FaceBookChicken
Since: Feb 14, 2012
Posted on: February 14, 2012 4:06 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jan 11, 2012
Posted on: February 14, 2012 4:03 pm
 

Indians interested in Hafner-Burnett swap

This is a good article.  Finally, someone is looking a little deeper at Burnett and his value.  

I hope he goes to the Indians.  Both players are a good fit on the teams they'd be traded to.  I would love to see Hafner return to form.  Loved watching him when he had his power stroke.  

And what about Burnett as a closer?  I'm sure that's been discussed before, but if he seriously continues to struggle as a starter, I bet he would be a Smoltz-ian closer.   



Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: February 14, 2012 3:58 pm
 

Indians interested in Hafner-Burnett swap

Have the indians include NJ's own



Since: Oct 19, 2006
Posted on: February 14, 2012 3:46 pm
 

Indians interested in Hafner-Burnett swap

Wow, C. Trent Rosecrans is a keeper.

Something Cincinnatians have known for a long time. (Sorry about Doyle though)


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