Saturday, February 18, 2012

Yankees agree to send A.J. Burnett to Pirates

As has been rumored for well over a week, the New York Yankees are ready to rid themselves of mediocre pitcher A.J. Burnett. The Bombers agreed to trade Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates Saturday for right-handed reliever Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones.

The deal is pending approval from MLB which needs to make sure that the exchange of money is fair and complete. Burnett signed a ridiculous $60 million deal with the Yankees back in 2009 and has $31 remaining on his contract. The Pirates are expected to pay only $13 million of that contract, according to ESPN.

With Burnett out of town, the Yankees rotation will almost certainly look like this: CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Hiroki Koroda and Freddy Garcia, with Phil Hughes returning to the bullpen as a long reliever.

When the Yankees acquired Pineda in a trade with Seattle and signed Koroda, it made Burnett expendable. The Yankees grew tired of watching Burnett flounder during his three seasons with New York. He was a guy who had good stuff, but he never developed the mechanics to become a consistently effective pitcher, and he went 34-35 with a 4.79 ERA.

Garrett Jones was originally rumored to be a part of the deal, but the Pirates apparently pulled him off the table. This means the Yankees will now look to sign former Phillies slugger Raul Ibanez to be the team's power bat off the bench, and occasional DH.

For the Pirates, acquiring Burnett gives them a legitimate starting pitcher with post season experience. The NL Central will be considerably weaker this year with Albert Puljos leaving the Cardinals, Prince Fielder leaving the Brewers, and Ryan Braun facing a 50 game suspension with the Brew Crew as well. The Pirates were in the mix at the All Star break last year, and they might believe this is their chance to make a move.

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