Pirates Acquire Burnett from Yankees, pending approval

Photo by Keith Allison

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates and the New York Yankees have agreed upon a deal sending right-hander A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh, pending a physical and approval from the commissioner, Dejan Kovacevic reports. 

Under the terms of the deal, the Yankees will be paying $20 M of the $33M remaining on Burnett’s contract over the next two years. The Pirates will pay $5 M of Burnett’s salary for the 2012 season, $8 M for 2013.

In return, the Yankees received minor leaguers right-hander Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones.

Moreno, 25, posted a 3.63 ERA over 41 appearances of relief combined with High-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona during the 2011 season. The right-hander throws hard but has struggled with injuries and has yet to pitch out of Double-A over five seasons in the minors. Moreno was Rule-5 eligible this offseason, but the Pirates decided to leave him unprotected.

Cayones, 20, hit .228 with 14 runs, five doubles, three triples, 12 RBI and three stolen bases over 38 games combined with the GCL Pirates and State College Spikes in 2011. Cayones hit just .063 to start the 2011 season before being demoted to the GCL, where he finished the season there with a .293 avg.

First baseman Garrett Jones was reported to be a player that the Yankees originally wanted in the deal, but the Pirates were not willing to part ways with Jones, who has led the Pirates with 58 home runs since 2009.

Burnett, 35, went 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA over 32 starts with the Yankees during the 2011 season. The 6’4” right-hander struck out 173 batters over 190.1 innings. Over three seasons with the Yankees, Burnett posted a 4.79 ERA. Burnett has made at least 32 starts in each of the past four seasons and averages 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings over his 13-year career in the Majors.

Adding pitching depth was an offseason priority of the Pirates. They will now enter spring training with six starters –Erik Bedard, Burnett, Kevin Correia, Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton and James McDonald — forcing one to move into the ‘pen.

Burnett became expendable to the Yankees after two offseason additions to the rotation of Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda. The Yankees were also looking for salary relief to add a hitter.

An 8th round pick by the New York Mets in 1995, Burnett made his Major League debut in 1999 with the Florida Marlins. Over parts of seven seasons with the Marlins, Burnett went 49-50 with a 3.73 ERA. In 2001, Burnett led the National League in shutouts and also pitched a no-hitter. He also led the American League in strikeouts (231) in 2008. Burnett posted a 3.94 ERA with the Toronto Blue Jays over three seasons before signing his five-year $82.5 million deal with New York.

  • anthony mitchell
    February 18, 2012 5:53 pm

    Forget about the trade and think about it this way.

    The Pirates signed a verteran Free-Agent starting pitcher for 2 years/ $13 million. This pitcher immediately has the best stuff on the rotation, an extremely high k/9 (relative to our staff), and has a track record to pitch about 32 starts a season. 

    At that price, this pitcher should make all Pirate fans happy and want to pat NH on the back for such a shrewd move. Which is exactly how we should feel.

    Both players involved in this trade are between 2-3 yrs older than they should be in their respective minor-league team. They have not proven much, and will not be missed.

    Forget about projections and what if’s, NH just added our best pitcher at a at a reasonable price.

  • This is a great deal!!!! For once we have a name in Pittsburgh!
    Burnett wll be the opening Day starter!

    For the season 15-11, 3.76 ERA with 220 IP and 180 Ks

    • I think Jeff Karstens should get the opening day start. He deserves it most for stepping in for the awful and injured Ohlendorf in April and stabilizing what could have been a disaster. He was our best pitcher for most of the year and they should honor him for his good work.

      Plus he kind of looks like that guy from the Sopranos.

  • Daniel McCutchen is no way coming off the roster. Highly doubt Hernandez would either.
    Most likely Nunez. Possibly Welker, J Hughes, or J Wilson.

    Or maybe they can put Morton on the DL to free up the spot.

    • hah, that’s right, D-Cutch will probably be traded.  He’s definitely an odd man out in this bullpen right now.

      I would expect they make room for Burnett by removing a pitcher though.  A 1-for-1 swap.  I think it’s still possible to see some movement by the team before Opening Day.  You have to figure in; Hanrahan, Meek, Grilli, Watson, Resop, Correia, and then D-Cutch/Hughes/Leroux.  I just see McCutchen having to really show that he’s superior to those guys, otherwise they’re either going to hold on to Leroux because he’s out of options, or Hughes because he’s young.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • I thought of Nunez as well, though it is fairly unusual for a Rule 5 guy to be returned before Spring Trainig has even begun

    •  It is rare, so maybe DMac. But, it is better than the days where we almost HAD to keep a Rule 5 guy. Now, he may be superfluous?

  • Who comes off the 40-man roster?  Daniel McCutchen, Hernandez, perhaps Welker?

  • Yeah, I can see the Pirates with a very good chance of getting over .500 finally this year.
    If they play focused (just having Cedeno out of the line-up adds focus by itself) and play good team-ball they could easily contend all year.

    I still want another professional hitter on the bench, it would really help.

  • I’m very pleased with this. $5M this year, $8M next year, for an above average pitcher. We gave up guys who may never even make a major league roster.  Between this and the Bedard signing, we have a chance to have a pretty good pitching staff.  Add in Barajas, McGehee, and Barmes instead of Doumit, Alvarez, and Cedeno, and the fielding should be pretty good much better too.

  • Real baseball fans don’t judge a pitcher by their era, and especially for any particular season. Burnett is probably in the top 5 leaders in Quality Starts over the past decade, I’m just guessing. He’s been partially responsible for many of my fantasy league championships over the past 10 years. My opponents can testify to that.

  • I’m glad they got it done in time so that Burnett and Gerrit Cole can spend some time around each other in spring training before Cole gets sent to minor league camp.

  • good move for the bucs,should be much easier to pitch in pnc park,than yankee stadium,and in nl central  instead of al east! 

    •  In the AL East, the only ‘bad’ teams for a pitcher’s ERA is Toronto and Boston. Tampa was not that much of an offensive juggernaut.

       Everybody thinks that coming to PNC Park and the NL Central will be a cure all. I am not sure where they came up with that.

       Now, if he got to pitch against the Pirates…..lol

      •  Never said changing to the NL Central would make him a Cy Young Candidate. Will Just make him look a little better. If you Gives you any where near 180 to 200 innings and an ERA in the lower 4.00 then a huge bonus for the Pirates.  A steady hand to show the younger guys with the upside he used to have how to go about their business and pitch not just throw to give them a quality career

      • Facing the pitcher instead of a DH makes a pretty big difference.  The league as a whole is easier.

        •  Todd and Gozurman…..believe me….I hope you two are right. Just not optimistic….Gotta admit that if AJ and Bedard (who I love….PLS stay healthy Eric) pitch well, it could be another interesting season.

          AND, if the Pedro of Sept 2010 shows up…………woo hoo.

  • This is a great move as a transition starter for one-maybe two-years. Nice job, Neal!
    Pitchers and catchers….

  • gozurman…….his ERA was a run higher away from NY in 2010 and TWO runs higher last year.

    •  But does not have to pitch against AL East .  Hey if he ends up stinking up the joint  we gave up nothing to get him.  He could bounce back & do well away from the limelight in NY where everyone complains & picks you apart if you give up just 1 run or lose one game.  Some guys can thrive some not so much. 

      •  I hope I am wrong about him. I hope I am wrong about Pedro I’m not in his camp, either). But, if I was looking at those two objectively…………….

         If only we’d have signed EJax. Now HIM, I liked.

        •  the reason why wash got EJax and not us is Wash has their young pitching up and running while ours is still in minors.  They have a better chance of at least winning this year so that is why EJax went there. Better chance to look good and try to cash in next year.  Don’t be so quick to give up on Pedro.  Less than 1 year in majors & not much time in minors.  Ryan Howard didn’t have his 1st full year in the Majors till he was 26 Pedro only 25 this year.  You are so quick to dump him but you prob love Cutch.  Great numbers for the year last year but had a horrible 2nd half compared to 1st.  You dont want rid of him do you ??  Give Pedro a chance to settle in

        • Edwin Jackson last year:
          3.73 xFIP, 1.437 WHIP, 2.22 SO/BB

          AJ Burnett last year:
          3.86 xFIP, 1.434 WHIP, 2.08 SO/BB

          Jackson will make $11MM this year.  Burnett will make $5MM this year.  I think we did alright.

          •  I hope all you AJ optimists are right. 🙂
            I AM a Pirate fan after all. I now have no choice BUT to root for the Tatooed one. 🙂

            As for Pedro, NOBODY could have that epic of a bad year. Oh wait…..foogot about Adam Dunn….lol

            • You think that’s optimistic?  Try this one:

              Pedro Alvarez first two seasons in majors:
              169 G, .230 AVG, .696 OPS, 20 HR, 83 RBI

              Mike Schmidt first two seasons in the majors:
              145 G, .197 AVG, .690 OPS, 19 HR, 55 RBI

              •  Groan……….I thought we were done with the Mike Schmidt comparisons. That is counting his 40 AB cup of coffee in 1972. In 1973 he hit .196. In his SECOND full season, Mike GOT BETTER and hit .282.

                Comparison fail my brother. 🙂

                • There’s a 14 game difference.  It’s a fair comparison.  

                  How about Aramis Ramirez?

                  163 G, .239 AVG, .654 OPS, 12 HR, 66 RBI

                  George Brett?

                  146 G, .270 AVG, .646 OPS, 2 HR, 47 RBI

                  Understand, I’m not claiming that Pedro is a sure-bet, future hall of famer and the next Mike Schmidt.  I’m just showing how rare it is for a rookie to step in and do much better than Pedro has.  The expectations for him to step in and instantly carry the team to greatness just never matched reality.

                  • Don’t forget that Aramis Ramirez’s first two seasons were at age 20 and 21, as opposed to 23 and 24.  Pedro is nearing his peak and needs to hit now to save some projection. George Brett? Age 20 and 21.

                    • Some similar batters (so far) are Darnell Coles and Craig Worthington.  The best one, imho, is Steve Buechele. Hey, 2 former Buccos. 🙂

                  •  Pedro was so bad last year, I ain’t comparing him to anyone, except maybe Bobby Wine or Ray Oyler (and they were SS).

                    We beat all these 3b comparisons to death on quite a few Pirate boards. You can’t compare Pedro to anyone.

                    If he hadn’t been the 2nd pick in 2008, he wouldn’t even be a prospect after 2011.

                    I suspect he’ll start in AAA unless he shows he has improved plate discipline.

                    To me, his work ethic is unquestioned. His K-zone? Whole ‘nother thing.

                    • Clearly, he can be compared to all of these players.  The only question is how far you want to go out of your way to ignore it.

                    •  Kinda hard to ignore Pedro when he plays for the team I  root for. 🙂

                •  except pedro hasn’t had a full season yet either

  • oh boy! K’s, HRs and high ERAs are coming to PNC. Can’t wait!

    • Remember he pitched in homer happy Yankee Stadium and Lot of Homers hit by NL East teams last few years.  Against weaker hitting NL central plus not so hitter Friendly PNC Park, might not be so bad.  What they need is a veteran innings eater and if can keep to low 4.00 ERA will be good for team and a bridge till Cole & Taillon show up hopefully sooner than later.  Morton & MacDonald need a verteran guy who has pitched successfully & can show them how to go about their business over the course of an entire season & how to be more consistant.  He does’t have to be a world beater just be consisitant from Spring Traing till the end of the season then mission accomplished with the younger guys

    •  For what the Pirates are going to pay Burnett and gave up to get him this is a great deal.

      No matter what (even if he pulls a Matt Morris) this trade will force Correa at least to the bullpen. Or better yet swing him out the door and receive another low rated prospect.

      Hopefully part of this deal was for the Yankees to go out and sign Derrek Lee so we get that 2nd comp. pick.

      • Would be nice for him to push some guys.  I am still hoping that Lincoln shows up in camp and pitches so well it forces Hurdles hand.  Would make things interesting for a change to say the least.  Baseball so much more fun just to be able to talk about players and possibilities ( as tempered as it is so far) as opposed as to who in the heck are these guys??  

      •  I sure wish someone would sign D Lee

    • …and yet he was still better than 3/5th of our rotation last year.  He put up a 1.5 WAR.  Karstens, Correia and McDonald posted a 1.4 WAR.  Combined.