Suprise: Yankees still trying to move A.J. Burnett

Open Thread: Chase Wright
Banuelos headlines Spring Training invitees

Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees are still diligently working to trade A.J. Burnett for some level of salary relief before the season. We first heard they were shopping him at the winter meetings, but so far interested teams have asked the Yankees to pay pretty much all $33M left on his contract. The Pirates are one of those interested teams, and Ken Rosenthal says they are not one of the ten clubs A.J. can block a trade to with his limited no-trade clause. After losing out on Edwin Jackson despite a substantial three-year offer, Rosenthal opines that the Bucs might reignite talks about Burnett. I don’t expect him to be traded, but you never know.

Open Thread: Chase Wright
Banuelos headlines Spring Training invitees
  • Plank

    AJ plus $25MM for nothing in particular?

    • Mike E

      I agree, there has to be some sort of return. He’d be worth more to the Yankees if that nets them only $4m a year in extra payroll.

      • radnom

        If he pitches like he has the past two years, he isn’t worth his roster spot let alone 4mil/yr.

        Question – would you want the team to pick up AJ on a 2yr/8mm deal if he were a FA?

        If your answer is no (which it should be), it means he is not worth more than that to the Yankees. Don’t let the sunk cost of his massive contract trick you.

  • Steve S.

    I just posted this over at TYA, Joel was much more definitive on Kay’s show about the Yanks willingness to p/u $

    “What they’re hoping to do is find someplace to deposit AJ Burnett. Now they know they’re going to have to eat about 75% of the two years at 33M left. If they could get someone to eat 4-5M per year of that, they could then turn around and have their cake and eat it too and do Chavez and then take their choice of who they want the most of Damon, Matsui, Ibanez.”

    So they’re willing to p/u 25M according to his source. Now we have to ask if anyone would give AJ 2 years 8M at this point. That’s dirt cheap for a starter, and the innings he logs alone are worth double that. If I were an NL team with some money to spend, I could sell that to my fans and owner. The money is so light there’s little risk.

    • CJ

      I think they could do AJ + $25m for Garrett Jones. Pitt will basically get AJ 200 IP in NL salary free.

      • Plank

        I don’t think the Pirates would do that. They would be losing a cost controlled non-zero (jones) and they would be paying 4MM/year.

        • CJ

          His cost controlled is lost to arbitration. He’s getting close to too expensive for his production non tender type. Swap makes AJ free for Pitt.

          • Plank

            AJ makes 33MM the next 2 years. That’s a difference of 8MM.

            Why do you want Jones anyway? Where would he play?

            • CJ

              Jones as DH. Chicago traded big Z and cash for Volstad, his salary made up for cash going to Miami. So essentially big Z was added for free, no salary relief or additional cost to Miami. AJ + 25m for Garrett Jones is almost the same. Pirates need that 200 IP AJ gives they are not going to contend for 2-3 years.

      • Chuck M

        I’d be shocked if the Pirates did that. Living out here in Pittsburgh, I follow them as well… While starting pitching is a huge issue for the Buccos, offense is even more of one. Garrett Jones isn’t a great offensive player, but he’s one of the only guys on the team that has any power at all – and PNC Park is really, really hard on power hitters. I don’t think the Bucs will make this trade unless they have something else done for a bat.

  • Mike MzX

    I’d take one of their hot dog guys for A.J., he’d bring more enjoyment to fans at the game.

  • Bryan V

    Out of the three guys battling for the 5th rotation spot AJ is 3rd (fyi, Hughes is 1st and Garcia 2nd). And it’s true that AJ’s value is tied up in his ability to eat innings. But if Burnett is in the bullpen, he won’t rack up those innings, and therefore has little to no value to the team. So although I’d think the Yankees could move him while kicking in around half is remaining salary ($8.25m a year for AJ sounds okay with me), removing him from the roster and clearing money sounds good to me.

    • Steve S.

      Opening up his #5 spot to more capable pitchers in Hughes/Garcia is an upgrade right there. To be able to fill two needs by having some $ to play with and signing Chavez and Damon/Ibanez acts effectively as a trade. You can eat up to 3/4 of his deal and field a far better team this year and next.

  • Elan

    Please, whatever it takes, just dump him off on another team, and then we can finally put an end to this train-wreck of an experiment.

    • Steve (different one)

      I hope every train wreck the Yankees have brings a title in the first year.

      • Elan

        Great, so he pitches well in basically one game, and then gives the Yankees and the fans non-stop suffering ever since. That’s a GREAT way to spend $87 million.

        • Steve (different one)

          If this were true, I would agree.

          • Elan

            No, not true at ALL – he just had a 5.26 ERA in 2010 and a 5.15 ERA last year…just INCREDIBLE stats apparently. (This is sarcasm if you’re still not following along.)

            Just to show how bad Burnett was last year:

            -3rd Worst in the MLB in ERA (5.15)
            -4th Worst in the MLB in Earned Runs (109)
            -3rd Worst in the MLB in HR Allowed (31)
            -5th Worst in the MLB in Walks (83)
            -12th Worst in the MLB in WHIP (1.43)
            -16th Most in the MLB in Hit Batsmen (9)
            -49th in the MLB in Inducing Double Plays (16)
            -1st (Most) in the MLB in Wild Pitches (25)
            -11th Most in the MLB in Stolen Bases Allowed (24)
            -44th in the MLB in Winning Percentage (.500 – which is pathetic on a team like the Yankees)

            So somehow, this is worth over $17 million a year to you. You would make a GREAT GM (again, sarcasm).

  • Plank

    I can picture the comments 6 months from now when AJ is pitching better, not great but not horrific for some other team. People will be ready to lynch Cashman.

    If you knew you were going to get 180 IP and 4.5 ERA from AJ, would you take it? Or would you still trade him?

    • Plank

      What’s the tipping point in terms of performance when it is a good idea to trade him in a salary dump or not?

    • brent

      well first of all I’ve seen nothing the last two years that leads me to believe that a 4.5 era is anything other than an absolute best case scenario ceiling. And second of all yeah I’d still trade him. His presence makes the odds of Hughes getting a shot WAY WAY WAY lower. Girardi is naturally going to give the benefit of the doubt to the highly paid veteran WS game winner. And since AJ usually starts off pretty well that is going to doom hughes to the bullpen for a long stretch. THen once AJ inevitably shits the bed Hughes will not be stretched out and the starts will go to Garcia because he doesn’t have a real role in the pen and he pitched well last year.

      To me it’s not merely the awful performance (though that is part of it) it’s the roster squeeze. I’d prefer (in order) Hughes, Garcia, Phelps, Warren, Banuelos, Bettances, Mitchell get these starts over AJ.

      With Hughes the yeankees owe it to themselves to see one last time if they can get anything out of a still young former TOP TOP prospect. WIth Garcia you have a guy who for the last two years has pitched better than Burnett, is finally healthy, and is a guy who can succeed (i.e NOT shit the bed) when he doesn’t have everything working.

      After those two the at some point I’d like to see what they actually have in Phelps and Warren. THese guys have now basically finished the development phase of their careers. Have had excellent success in the high minors and both have the stuff to very possibly be average ML SP’s. It’s time to see what they have and decide whether they are part of the future at the back of this rotation or are best used as trade pieces while they are still young enough to be enticing to other teams.

      And after ALL those guys I’d still rather see our two top SP prospects both of whom are in AAA. By July I would think one of the B’s will be ready to take some starts for the big league club.

      So Burnett is essentially screwing up everything. And his atrocious control command and HR problems make him utterly unusable out of the pen for anything other than mop up duty.

      So the real question is whether it is better to pay 16 million for a mop up man or get 4 million a year for a trade deadline deal each of the next two seasons while clearing that roster spot.

      To me seems like an AJ to the Pirates trade makes too much sense for both teams for it not to happen.

      • Plank

        Agreed on most of that. Just to highlight where I disagree:

        I don’t think 4.5 ERA is unrealistically optimistic. I don’t think he’ll do it. It’s certainly optimistic, but I think he could do it. Even last year, it would probably have been a realistic expectation.

        I think you are way overvaluing the AAA guys. Mitchell?

      • hogsmog

        I think that he could easily swing 4.5, maybe even better, in a weak NL league. You have to remember that an AL east righthander in Yankee stadium has to be one of the toughest pitching environments there is.

      • Rainbow Connection

        Editing. Please. I refuse to read that.

        • brent

          dude. Have we really gotten to the point where four paragraphs is just too much to handle? You should be fucking embarrassed. You remind me of students I’ve had who whine and bitch when I assign a one page paper. Sad. Fucking sad.

  • ryan

    AJ for Pedro alverez, he can back arod up at 3B and he’s a LHB for DH. Yankees eat all of Burnetts contract.

    • Mike E

      Yea, its gonna take a little more than that.

      • ryan

        What if the yanks kick in some pitching prospects? Could this be done at all?

        • Mike E

          I think it would be very stupid for the Pirates to trade Alvarez at such a low point in his prospect-value. The Yankees have the pieces to trade for him, and I don’t even think it would cost Banuelos, but the price might be too high for the Yankees after such a terrible season.

          • Steve S.

            I’m not a believer in the “You never sell low” theory, because it assumes an upward career trajectory that very well may not be there. If you owned a $50 stock that’s worth $10 today, the smart move may be to sell it if you believe it’s heading to zero. If Hughes puts up another horrendous season this year, in hindsight it would clearly have been a mistake not to have traded him earlier. The Cubs would have been better off dealing the Big Z after his down 2010 season. His 2011 was worse and they would up paying the Marlins almost his entire salary to get him off the team. If you don’t think a team should sell low, tell me why his stock will be heading up, not down.

            If I was with the Pirates and had a strong conviction that Alvarez won’t make it at this level, I would be willing to listen to offers and see what I can get, even if its less than it was a year ago. By holding on to him, I might ride his value all the way down to zero, or worse wind up paying another team to take him off my hands.

            • Mike E

              Its absolutely possible that the Pirates think he’s declining. But with his history in the minor leagues, the Pirates are probably looking for a return on the player he was in 2010, and teams interested will look to give based on what he was in 2011. The middle ground is very far apart.

              Not that a deal can’t be reached, but its a lot less likely than a guy like Chase Headley. If you ask me, AJ would be a perfect fit in San Diego, Headley is on his way out with all their 3B prospects and the break out year from Guzman, and Headley’s bat fits very well in the confines of Yankee Stadium. Now AJ for Headley sure as hell ain’t happening, but throw some prospects in there and the Padres might start answering your phone calls.

        • Plank

          The Pirates are a few years from contention so they would want players who will be good in a few years (like Pedro Alvarez) so I doubt it would be easy to trade for him, especially with AJ going in the deal, too.

    • Plank

      Getting anything of value for AJ is not going to happen.

  •!/cfrs15 Robert

    Garrett Jones?

    • Plank

      For AJ Burnett? Heck yeah.

  • MannyGeee

    for all the bucs have given us over the years, let em have AJ… screw it

  • Rich in NJ

    If they are willing to eat all but maybe $10m of his remaining contract, I would think he is a decent risk for a team.

    • Steve S.

      The innings he gives you alone are worth almost double that, whatever upside he has left (NL, pitcher’s park) is basically free.
      If he was a stock, I’d buy him at that price. You almost can’t lose.

      • Plank

        He gives a lot of innings (good), but they are bad innings (bad). He’s literally been one of the worst pitchers in MLB the last 2 years.

        The innings eaters are good argument has limits. Burnett is beyond that threshold.

        That’s assuming he continues to be the pitcher he was the last 2 years.

        • Steve (different one)

          I think the point is that in a bigger park, his bad innings would become “decent” innings. And I think there is something to that. His problem is HRs. Cut them back, you have a decent pitcher.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        I hope I’m reading it wrong because 190 IP over two years or something doesn’t equate to automatic 20 million. Not at all.

        • Steve S.

          Fangraphs had AJs value pegged at 8M last year, so if you’re paying him 4-5M its “almost double”.

  • Mark L.

    Maybe the Yanks can send Burnett, $16 million, and take back Kevin Correia to be a long man/mop up guy. I don’t see them giving us Jones, who actually does have some value as a platoon 1B/OF for them. Maybe they’d also want Justin Maxwell to give them a toolsy 5th OF.

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    Oh please G-d, I’ll never ask for Eternal Salvation or 1,000 virgins again, I swear. Please let the Yankees move AJ!!!

  • DR

    Even if the Yankees keep Burnett, at least he’s not John Lackey…

    • William

      So true, but luckily for the Sox, he’s out for the year.

  • Josh

    I was at the 2nd game of the ’09 World Series, and lost my voice cheering for AJ (well maybe it was more for Mo, Tex and Matsui, but who’s counting?). If the Yankees are somehow able to unload AJ before he manages to engineer yet another midseason implosion (or Dennis the Menace haircut), maybe in time we’ll be able to remember him as the guy who righted the ship against the Phillies, rather than the guy who made every fifth day a nightmare.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I just finished watching the episode of “Breaking Bad” in which Walt breaks back into the house after Skylar kicked him out. This post somewhat reminds me of that.

  • John

    AJ + Phelps/Warren/Mitchell + 20MM for Garrett Jones. Pirates would be getting 2/5 of their starting rotation at just over 6.5MM per year for jones. They’d hafta think hard bout that.

    • Plank

      Why does everyone want Garrett Jones? He’s 30, not that good, and isn’t cheap after this season.

      • Rainbow Connection

        They picked him up for their shitty fantasy team and it’s the only Pirate name they know.

      • CJ

        Jones is not that good but this is for AJ. Pitt will want out of jones contract at this point. I’m sure they would non tender him after this season.

    • RetroRob

      So you want to give them AJ, who will deliver them 190+ innings, and Phelps, Warren and Mitchell and twenty million? Or was it just one of the three rookies?

      • John

        Just one, preferrably Mitchell but I’d be willing to part with any of the three.

    • Landry

      All that for a player that has accumulated 0.6 bWAR in 4 seasons?

  • John

    Because he may be the only fit for our roster that we might be able to trade AJ for. Roster space + 13 MM saved over 2 years + a LH DH for a year with another arb year? That’s a big win, even if jones is only on par with ibanez-Damon-matsui.

  • Platano Man

    I’m offering to my mother in law and her dog to the Yankees for Burnett if they eat all of his salary.

  • pistol pete

    Any chance to get Carlos Lee for Burnett if we eat AJ’s total salary of $33m and pick up Houstons $19m for Lee for 1 year. It’s a $14m salary dump plus we don’t need to get a DH this year and save $2 to $4 million. So it’ll cost about $10m net to dump AJ get a solid run producer for one year. Houston saves $14m and gets a 200 inning pitcher for not 1 but 2 years. Lee could hit around 275 hit 20 hr’s get 90 rbi’s and have an 800 ops. He’s not good but not a total disaster in the outfield in a pinch, no worse than Ibanez or Damon. Kills 2 birds with one stone.

    • Landry

      How do you get a salary “dump” if you’re paying all of AJ’s AND Lee’s salaries? You’ve just added $19 million to this year’s budget and eliminated any chance of upgrades around the trade deadline.

  • cranky

    Because he’s healthy, a workhorse really, and just an inch away from greatness, Burnett still has value.
    If he had gone on the FA market this winter, he would have signed a deal by now. Not for anywhere near the kind of money he’s been getting. But he’d have a deal. He isn’t good. But for an NL Team that could live with a guy who’d give them a 4.70 ERA, a bunch of Ks, and 190-205 IP, he’d be worth $5mil/season. Every team needs a 4th or 5th starter.
    That would make $10m for two years. That would mean the Yanks eat $23m of Burnett’s contract.
    They’d save $10m. Burnett would be better off and the team that got him–the Pirates?–would be happy, too.
    You never know. Aaron Harang was bad in 2009 and 2010, came back to pitch much better in 2011. Like Burnett, he’s a thrower with a big fastball. Don’t know why I bring him up, but Harang seems similar to AJ.

  • Kosmo

    If Burnett is traded and if his performance improves he could have good value come the trade deadline. A contending team in need of SP might be willing to toss a prospect or 2. So not only does a team get out from under his remaining contract they gain a couple of players who might help them down the road. It´s a bit of a risk but picking up say 10 million over 2 years isn´t such a big deal.

  • Bronx Byte

    Cashman still has time to work a deal for Burnett but will have to eat some of his salary.
    Until it happens, Hughes / Garcia will beat Burnett out in the starting rotation leaving him as a long reliever / slop innings until Chamberlain returns in June.
    Warren, Phelps, and Mitchell will be ready when needed.

  • TogaSean

    Please lord make this happen. Even for nothing in return sending Burnett away and eating 25 of the 33 mil is worth it.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    Okay to trade Burnett the Yanks would take on 75-80% of his deal, and save around 4-5m this year and next year.

    there’s another way they can trade an awful 5 era pitcher and save 4-5m this year and next year, and it wouldn’t involve eating $25m and limiting our trade partners…
    trade Phil Hughes
    While it seems like the Yanks should keep the younger guy, Hughes is just as close to FA as Burnett so really its a question of which pitcher is going to be better for the next 2 years? Honestly, I’d take Burnett.

    I don’t think the Yankees will consider this, unless they get a really good offer for Hughes(good young bat) but if you are in the same boat as me where you think Burnett can outperform Hughes over the next 2 years, it makes plenty of sense.

  • Kevin

    GIven Cashman’s issues, Burnett might be the least of the Yankees worries.

    • jjyank

      Really? I haven’t read too much detail, but only because it seems so unimportant.

      Guy fools around with a women while he and his wife were already seperated? Not a big deal in my book. Yeah, he could have waited until a divorce went through, but I won’t judge him on that report.

      I would say, without a doubt, AJ Burnett’s pitching performance will have an infinitely larger impact on the 2012 Yankees. Unless he’s traded.

    • KL

      No one cares.

  • Crosetti32

    At this point, I’d take a dime bag and a toaster oven for AJ.

    • jjyank

      Make that a dime bag and a pizza and you’ve got yourself a deal!

  • Vegetable Lasagna

    Eat the whole contract in return get the Pirates to fill the pop machine for 3 years like Billy Beane did in Moneyball. We don’t want the guy.

  • MatUk

    I think we should do a Jackie Moon style trade…AJ for a washing machine.

    • jramey


  • infernoscurse

    this is the trade I make if the O’s werent bastards

    O’s make the most sense since they really need veteran pitching, they get AJ who btw lives in maryland!

    Yankees get Ryan flaherty who if the O’s dont keep on the 25 roster gets sent back to the Cubs therefore we get him to replace Eric Chavez for cheap

    this is Win – Win

  • OldYanksFan

    If AJ goes to Pittsburg, I’m willing to bet money he pitches better then a 4.5 ERA.

    AJs problem is not his arm… it’s his head.
    He’s a guy that basically can’t make it in NY.
    Not everyone can.

    He will perform better and be happier on another team, and a bottom feeding NL team would probably be great for him.