Friday, February 10, 2012

Can the Yankees really pull off AJ Burnett trade?

Can the New York Yankees really convince another baseball team to take AJ Burnett off their hands?

Brian Cashman has pulled off a number of stunning moves in his tenure as Yankees general manager. But it would be completely shocking to see him somehow sell one of his GM counterparts on the merits of Mr. Erratic.

To a certain extent, I can understand why another team would be interested in Burnett. He has undeniable talent and has pitched some very solid games in big situations for the Yankees. Burnett helped stave off elimination for the Yankees in the 2011 divisional series, even though it was only for one game. And truthfully, I think Burnett could do well in a place like Pittsburgh with extremely low expectations, a lot of young talent and a lack of media glare.

But if I were running another team, I would wonder why Burnett has not been able to harness all his talent into a winning record, even with the mighty Yankees lineup backing him up and relatively low expectations in 2010 and 2011. I would question whether Burnett’s psyche is simply too fragile to ever live up to his potential, even though the Yankees, and Cashman and manager Joe Girardi in particular, have gone out of their way to protect him.

The Yankees are probably going to have to pay almost all of Burnett’s remaining salary over the final two years of his contract, which even in this age of austerity they would happily do in exchange for a good, young prospect. But if I’m the Pittsburgh Pirates, or any other baseball team for that matter, I probably smellblood in the water with the Yankees desperate to move Burnett before the start of the 2012 season. If they wait long enough, they might even get the Yankees to give Burnett away for practically nothing.  

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