A.J. Burnett Rumors: Wednesday

Kicking off today’s A.J. Burnett watch with an update of my own. Last night I wrote in my blog that the Pittsburgh Pirates shouldn’t cave to the New York Yankees, and instead should wait them out, hoping the Yankees budge on their demand to get more money or more prospects.

My feeling was that it doesn’t make sense for the Pirates to rush to take a deal on Tuesday, paying $13 M to get the deal done early. That’s especially the case when you consider the Yankees need to unload Burnett, and there doesn’t seem to be a serious market for the right hander outside of the Pirates. The Pirates would be better off waiting, and hoping the Yankees budge from their desire for more money or more prospects.

Today I spoke with a source inside the Pirates’ organization that said the Pirates have no problem giving up $12-14 M in the end, and that the main priority for the team is keeping their prospects. This isn’t new in the sense that the Pirates would rather give up money than prospects, as we’ve heard that several times. What we have also been hearing is that the Pirates are at $10 M. I was told that the $10 M figure was “low”, since that figure would require the Pirates to give up more talent than they’d want to give up. The team has no problem giving up $12-14 M as long as they get to keep their prospects.

If I had to take a guess, I’d say the deal will eventually be completed with the Pirates paying $13 M of Burnett’s $33 M, and giving up two prospects that the team won’t miss.

I’ll keep this thread updated throughout the day as more news comes in, although I wouldn’t imagine a deal getting done today, since both teams are in stare down mode.

UPDATE 12:00 PM: Ken Rosenthal reports that there is a soft deadline for Saturday for a deal to be completed. He mentions that the Yankees would move quickly to sign Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez after a trade, and that one or both of those moves could happen even if Burnett isn’t dealt. Rosenthal also mentions that the Pirates are the only realistic trade partner for the Yankees.

  • Take the same 10-15 million you plan on spending on Burnett – and spend it to sign the Cuban Soler. Another 5 tool player – and impact guy in a few years when Bell is ready too. That’s better use of the money NH.

    • That is nice in therory except for the small problem of other teams wanting in on him…Some of those teams have deep pockets.  The 10 to 15 mil you mention isn’t going to get it done…

  • Assuming they do finally get this deal done, what does the bullpen look like on opening day?  Seems to be getting a bit crowded there.

    Hanrahan, Meek, Grilli, Resop, McCutchen and Correia in the pen only leaves one open spot, and there isn’t even a lefty in there yet.   Plus, Leroux is out of options.

    • they would probably go with an 8 man bullpen until they need a 5th starter which won’t be until end of April. That would give them ample time to either trade McCutchen or decide who is staying or going…

      • …but even if they go with a 4 man rotation, they still have to keep all 5 starters on the roster…unless Morton starts on the DL.

  • I have heard ALOT of people complaining through forums and blogs about this Burnett deal because they feel that if they spend 13-15 mil on Burnett over the two years, it will decrease the chances EVEN MORE to give cutch an extension even thought hes under team control until 2016. thats all anyone cares about these days is a long term extension for him and whether or not this signing or this move affects the probability of the long term deal, even though we have his rights for 4 more years! curious about your input on this situation

    • Agreed poeple talk like hes leaving now if they dont extend. IMO he has no interest in a long term deal now and wants his shot at FA. Any extension would probably only net an extra year at most 2 anyway so just find a replacement for those years instead and take whatever compensation they get whether trade or draft picks. Its really not a huge issue.

      • well ive read a bunch of times that people want the pirates to start lock guys up long term in the early stages like the Rays have done with Price and Moore

        • I agree with the rays extensions too. But those guys have been signed much earlier where tampa is assuming all the risk by paying these guys early on. But if their scouting is true and player is healthy and willing its a lottery ticket for the rays. Cutch is past this stage with only 1 prearb yr left
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    • If a deal like this really was the make or break for a McCutchen extension, then I’d say there was never any shot of extending McCutchen.

      My opinion is that people are over-reacting. I don’t know if McCutchen is one of those guys who just wants to go year to year, or if he’s just holding out until he’s arbitration eligible. Either way, the Pirates have him for four more years. The talk about McCutchen possibly being traded if an extension isn’t reached is the same as talking about how the Pirates will lose Burnett if they don’t make a deal on Tuesday. It’s a doom and gloom outlook.

      • dropkickmurphys
        February 16, 2012 9:20 am

        I would say its pretty realistic.  Who is the last player of note that they kept through either their initial shot at free agency or through the life of the contract (like Jason Bay).  

        If the Pirates don’t sign McCutchen, they will not have him for four years.  They cannot afford to let him walk.  If they’ve made or make the decision that he won’t or can’t be signed, he will be traded long before the end of the next four years.

        The Burnett deals gets dumber with each passing hour.  He isn’t worth $5M/season without giving up players.  He’s certainly not worth more than $5M/season and he’s not worth giving up anyone.  Burnett is a has been, that’s the plain hard truth of the matter.

        • The last player they kept in to free agency was Jack Wilson.

          I think comparing Bay and McCutchen are two different situations.

          First, I think it was a pointless move to “extend” Bay. All they did was buy out his arbitration years to provide cost certainty. They should have pushed for free agent years. Second, when they traded Bay, they weren’t going to have a shot at winning for the duration of his contract.

          McCutchen is under team control through 2015. They’ve got a shot at winning from now until then. That shot goes down if they deal McCutchen now.

  • What bugs me is when somebody says “It’s not your money what do you care what they spend on Burnett.”

    If you have that additude than why care who they draft or sign or if they win or lose.Every aspect of what teams do is affected by money you can’t avoid it.

    It is true it isn’t coming out of my pockiet but it does effect what happens to the team good or bad and if I get worried about the Pirates overspending for a pitcher who has been declining it is only because I have been lectured over and over by baseball experts and writers and TV talking heads and bloggers and the Pirates themselves that the Pirates don’t have a lot of money to spend.


  • I have no problem with the Pirates giving 13M + 2 Grade C single A prospects trying to get the deal done. Otherwise, the Yankees can continue to eat the Burnett contract for all I care.

  • I would like to see this deal get done, but without giving up any good hitting prospects. The Pirates can’t afford to give up anything resembling offensive potential at this point. I hope the prospects are lower level pitchers since the Bucs seem to have enough of those.

  • Tim:  Thanks for the daily updates.  The Yankees started out by asking for Garrett Jones, but why?  With Tex, Swisher as Switchhitters and lefties like Cano, Granderson, Gardner, and Dickerson, why a lefty?  What would you think of no prospects, $12 mil and we give them McGehee, and they give us Brandon Laird?

    • The Yankees want a lefty DH to platoon with Andruw Jones. Jones hits lefties well, but struggles against RHPs.  Yankee stadium is also built for left handed batters, though Swisher’s numbers are much better from the right side of the plate. Ideally, the Yankees want a left handed hitter they can platoon with Andruw Jones, but can also take some days in the field for Swisher and/or Teixeira, all the while not costing them too much money since they already have a projected payroll of $204M.  

      Garret Jones meets all of their criteria, but they won’t be stealing him from us. 

  • Tim,

    If this deal happens, who would you suspect would be removed from the 40 man?

  • IMO, money is the big problem with this deal, Burnett stats wise is worth 5mil year, exactly what the Pirates offered and no prospects, but since 10mil is10mil, that means in modern times players have to be exchanged also, (I don’t know why that has to be the case and why it is written in stone, but apparently it is and thus we have our hangup.
    Gone are the days when the Pirates or the Cubs called each other and said how about a Kiner trade.

    • From the article: Today I spoke with a source inside the Pirates’ organization that said the Pirates have no problem giving up $12-14 M in the end, and that the main priority for the team is keeping their prospects.

      • The reason that I mentioned money is because how much money the Pirates pick up determines the class of prospect the Yankees want, if the Pirates Pick up 10mil, then the Yanks are going to want Marte, if the Bucs pick up 15mil, then the Yanks will take just about anyone.

  • any names even being mentioned at this point?