A.J. Burnett traded to the Pirates

Yanks dump baggage on Pittsburgh, trade Burnett to the Pirates

2/17/12 in MLB   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

The Yankees have finally found a taker for A.J. Burnett. The Yankees will deal Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates, pending MLB approval, in exchange for some salary relief and two low-level prospects.

The Pirates will reportedly pay $13 of the $31.9 million left on Burnett's contract, which runs through the 2013 season. 

The Yankees have been trying to trade Burnett, who has struggled mightily in New York, especially the last two seasons, ever since they traded for starter Michael Pineda and signed starter Hiroki Kuroda. After those two were acquired, it was clear that there was no room for the 35-year-old Burnett in the Yankees' rotation.

In 2010 Burnett went 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA in 33 starts. He followed that up with an 11-11 2011 with a 5.15 ERA.

Burnett did have a successful 2009, his first season in pinstripes. That year he was 13-9 with a 4.04 ERA and pitched well in the in the playoffs during the Yankees' run to the '09 World Series title.  

After the Kuroda signing and Pineda trade, the Yankees had seven starting pitchers for five rotation spots. With Burnett gone, the Yankees now have C.C. Sabathia, Pineda, Kuroda and Ivan Nova populating the first four spots in their rotation, with Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia battling for the fifth spot. 

Pittsburgh's rotation is also muddled. It is unclear where Burnett fits in among James McDonald, Erik Bedard, Kevin Correia, Charlie Morton and Jeff Karstens. The trade seems like a weird one for Pittsburgh, who doesn't seem to be in position to contend in the N.L. Central. However, with the Brewers losing Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun facing a 50-game drug suspension, the Cardinals losing Albert Pujols and the Cubs in rebuilding mode, the division is wide open.

Expect the Yankees to use the $13 million they saved on Burnett's contract to pursue a left-handed hitting designated hitter, perhaps Raul Ibanez or Johnny Damon. 

Burnett had reportedly turned down a trade to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with his partial no-trade clause, that would have sent Bobby Abreu back to the Yankees. 

It's unclear which prospects are coming to New York, but it won't be any of the Pirates' top prospects.
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2/19/12   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

Eric_ wrote:
Weird. I think their rotation is their weakness. I look at it, and even with Burnett I don't see who's going to be much better than what they were last year, and last year's rotation was average at best.

they struggle to score runs...prior to the meltdown Pitts starters were very solid

2/18/12   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

Eric_ wrote:
Weird. I think their rotation is their weakness. I look at it, and even with Burnett I don't see who's going to be much better than what they were last year, and last year's rotation was average at best.

I'd say it's not a weakness, but rather a work in progress.  The success they had early on followed by the downfall at the end of the year seems more like a young group of guys still on a learning curve.  McDonald got better as the year went on, and let's remember that last year was his first full season as a starter.  Karstens was one of the most efficient pitchers in the league.  Morton had his ups and downs, but is still on the learning curve.  I think he's getting better as he gains more experience, and was leaps and bounds better last year than his first year with the Pirates.  Correia is who I'd say is the weakest link because he's been a starter and got worse as the year went on...and Maholm is gone.  That's last year's starting 5 for 90% of the season.

Jeff Locke has no place on the roster, and Brad Lincoln is on very thin ice.  You can probably shed more light on Bedard than I can, but I'd venture to say if nothing else the young pitchers can learn a little from Burnett.  That rotation will I think get stronger this year with McDonald being the big standout, and with Maholm out of the picture, it can only get better.

2/18/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

derms33 wrote:
I agree, its a great add to an already solid rotation, people outside of Pitt. don't realize how good their pitching really is.  If they had a power hitting OF they'd be a contender.  I still think they can make the playoffs

Weird. I think their rotation is their weakness. I look at it, and even with Burnett I don't see who's going to be much better than what they were last year, and last year's rotation was average at best.

2/18/12   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

TatsuKlinga2812812 wrote:
NOT THIS YEAR BUDDY.  Kidding one year it might happen your Division as much weaker so it should help out

Kidding aside, it's really NOT that hard to win 10 more games than last year when your team is learning and growing.  I'm not talking division winner, all I'm saying is a winning season.  It sounds like you're saying "not this year buddy" as if I'm saying I think they can win the division, which I never said at all.

2/18/12   |   TatsuKlinga2812812   |   157 respect

(Edited by TatsuKlinga2812812)

NOT THIS YEAR BUDDY.  Kidding one year it might happen your Division as much weaker so it should help out

2/18/12   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

derms33 wrote:
I agree, its a great add to an already solid rotation, people outside of Pitt. don't realize how good their pitching really is.  If they had a power hitting OF they'd be a contender.  I still think they can make the playoffs

I'm not holding high expectations.  All I want to see is win #82 and if there's more than that it's great.  I just want to see a winning team, it's been 20 years.  They improved 15 games from 2010 to 2011, they only need to improve 10 from last year to finish 82-80.  The pitching is the strongest part of their team, and McCutchen could be that power hitter surprisingly.  He and Tabata are both still growing.

2/18/12   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

kramer wrote:
Holy hell, look what the cat dragged in!  Where in the world have you been?!

Anywho, I'm glad this trade went through.  The Pirates gave up nothing to get him, and the last deal we made with your guys has worked out better for us than it did for the Yankees.

I agree, its a great add to an already solid rotation, people outside of Pitt. don't realize how good their pitching really is.  If they had a power hitting OF they'd be a contender.  I still think they can make the playoffs

2/18/12   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

(Edited by derms33)

his bad ankle the Browns gave him have drastically reduced the rapes around Pittsburgh

2/18/12   |   TatsuKlinga2812812   |   157 respect

Should do better in a pressure free situation why maybe he didn't want to travel west and he already has a World Series.

2/17/12   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

Gazzo wrote:
So much potential wasted. See ya Burnett. Make sure you stay out of the bathroom when Rothelisberger's around.

Holy hell, look what the cat dragged in!  Where in the world have you been?!

Anywho, I'm glad this trade went through.  The Pirates gave up nothing to get him, and the last deal we made with your guys has worked out better for us than it did for the Yankees.

2/17/12   |   Gazzo   |   18 respect

So much potential wasted. See ya Burnett. Make sure you stay out of the bathroom when Rothelisberger's around.

2/17/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

You left out the best part of the deal, which is that one of the guys going to the Yankees is named Exicardo Cayones.