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A.J. Burnett Close to Being Traded... Really

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

After a trade to the Angels was nixed, apparently another deal is in the works to send Burnett elsewhere.

A.J. Burnett Close to Being Traded... Really

A.J. Burnett has had three mediocre seasons in New York since signing with the Yankees three years ago.  He's had his moments, like his tremendous Game 2 start in the 2009 World Series, but for the most part, he has been a disappointment in pinstripes.  It's not like the Yankees have missed on free agents in the past, but Burnett's five-year contract (as he turns 35-years-old this year) seemed like an albatross that the Yankees would have to eat while promising young pitchers like Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, and Josh Phelps wait in the wings.  Who would want to trade for a pitcher with declining stuff?

But as Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast!"  A.J. Burnett trade rumors have been swirling this week.  First it was a proposed trade to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Then a supposed trade to the Angels for Bobby Abreu was nixed by Burnett, who had the Angels included in his no-trade clause.  There were also talks of him going to the Cleveland Indians for Travis Hafner that never materialized.

But now it appears that a deal to Pittsburgh or another "mystery team" is imminent and will be completed soon.  I think that if you're the Yankees, you have to cut ties with Burnett.  What the Yankees have seen the past three years is basically what they are going to get from him.  His ERA is going to hover around 5.00, he's going to have a WHIP between 1.4-1.5, he's going to give up way too many home runs, and he's going to walk way too many people.  He will get hot occasionally, but Burnett has never been able to sustain it.

The argument has always been, "Well he's got the stuff, you can't give up on his stuff."  The stuff really isn't there anymore.  When he had a high-90s fastball, he could get away with command issues.  Now that it lingers around 92-94, his "stuff" is incredibly hittable.  But maybe he just needs a change of scenery, which a place like Pittsburgh would provide.  The Yankee Analysts even took a preemptive look at what Burnett might be able to do in the NL Central, and it isn't god-awful.

I think it's a win-win for the Yankees and Burnett, and the Pirates get a pitcher who could receive a boon from switching leagues.  If it is imminent, it at least makes sense on the surface.

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