News broke the last few days that the Pirates and Yankees were in talks about making a trade involving A.J. Burnett.The Yanks wanted Garrett Jones from the Bucs, but Neil Huntington and company said no (at least that’s what it sounds like). I certainly think that was the right thing to do, because I’m convinced that the Yankees aren’t going to go into the season with Burnett on the roster. They really want to get rid of the guy, and they are willing to pay a lot of his salary.
What would the Yankees do with Garrett Jones anyway? He would be a bench power bat at best for them, and he probably wouldn’t perform too well in that role. Obviously Yankees stadium fits Jones very well, and he could see some advantages from that, but I just don’t see Jones as a good situational, pinch-hitter type.
Regardless, the Yankees aren’t going to give Burnett away for nothing. If they want prospects is something I don’t know, but I’m sure they would listen to a trade with some minor leaguers involved. What they are probably looking for most is just to get rid of him and have another team pay some of his salary.
If the Pirates can ramp up what they are willing to pay to get Burnett, I think he can be had without losing Garrett Jones. Joel Sherman seems to agree, and I believe Jon Heyman does as well:
I seriously think the Pirates and Yankees can get a deal done here. The Pirates are willing to spend some money to bring in another starting pitcher (they offered Edwin Jackson $30 million for three years), and I don’t think there are any other serious suitors.
If the Pirates do get Burnett, you can be sure that we’ll have a lot of analysis about him on this blog, but now we can just say that he’ll certainly make this rotation a bit better. He got roughed up last year in the A.L. East pitching in a hitter’s paradise, but he still has some good stuff. A change of scenery could do him wonders. He can be a very solid #4 or #5 starter for the Pirates this year, with upside to becoming their best option in the rotation. More importantly, he adds depth to a rotation with a lot of question marks. You never know how long you’ll have Erik Bedard pitching, and Charlie Morton is recovering from surgery. After the five they have right now it gets very thin, you certainly don’t want a Jeff Locke in the rotation at this point. Burnett would be a huge addition for the Pirates, and could be a difference in breaking the .500 mark and suffering their 20th straight losing season.