Yankees, Pirates Playing A.J. Burnett Contract Chicken

Yankees pitchers and catchers are to report to spring training this coming Sunday. When pitchers and catchers report, that generally signifies the end of the offseason, and the beginning of ... well, not quite the season, but something in between. The Yankees, though, still have some roster modification to do.

They're still in search of a left-handed DH. And they're still trying to move A.J. Burnett away from New York and to somewhere else. The most likely destination? As always, Pittsburgh. Those talks with the Indians about Travis Hafner reportedly never got off the ground. The Angels expressed some interest but Burnett has them on his no-trade list. And there was another team of unknown identity that won't be trading for Burnett either. Good story.

It's still the Pirates. The Yankees and the Pirates are trying to work something out, and by "trying to work something out," I mean the Yankees are trying to get the Pirates to cover what the Yankees believe would be enough of Burnett's remaining contract. Ken Rosenthal has an update:

The soft deadline for the A.J. Burnett trade discussions is Saturday - the day before the New York Yankees' pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Tampa.

The Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates continue to discuss a Burnett deal, but as of Wednesday morning the teams remained at an impasse, according to major-league sources.

Saturday is a soft deadline because Saturday isn't actually a deadline. Sure, it would be most convenient for the Yankees to deal A.J. Burnett before A.J. Burnett shows up and meets all his teammates, but it's not like moves can't be made after players arrive at camp. Burnett's teammates wouldn't be heartbroken if Burnett got dealt away. (I think.)

The Pirates are willing to eat $X remaining on Burnett's contract. The Yankees want the Pirates to eat $X + $Y. It's believed that $X + $Y = $13 million - $15 million. We'll see if the Yankees or Pirates budge in the coming days. For what it's worth, Rosenthal reports that, in the event of a trade, the Yankees would quickly turn around and sign Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez. They might just sign those guys anyway.

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