A.J. Burnett Trade Rumors Swirl As Yankees, Pirates Keep Talking

Turns out this wasn't just a last-week thing. When we left off, the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates were talking about a trade involving A.J. Burnett. The motivation on the Yankees' side was to clear some payroll -- not to mention a slot for a better starting pitcher -- and the hold-up was that the Pirates hadn't agreed to take on enough of Burnett's salary.

We might be getting closer to an agreement. Jon Heyman:

#yankees, #pirates still talking aj. deal likely to get done w/ bucs paying $13-15M of $33M, & giving up 2 non-roster guys

Some reports have said the Yankees want the Pirates to take half of Burnett's salary. One figures that, if the Pirates get within striking distance, that will probably be enough.

If this trade happens -- and it definitely looks like, in time, A.J. Burnett will go to the Pirates for a pair of middling prospects -- a common response will probably be "How did the Yankees convince someone to take A.J. Burnett? Baseball is so rigged." Or something like that. I don't know. I just made that up. There's an argument to be made that Burnett is not as bad as he's looked. The last two years, he's posted about the same ERA as John Lackey. That isn't the argument. The last two years, he's posted about the same FIP as Wade Davis. That isn't the argument, either. The last two years, he's posted about the same xFIP as Clayton Richard. That's the argument. Or that's basically the argument.

Burnett's stuff is intact, or nearly so. He's worth a flyer, at some price. The Pirates are negotiating that price.

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