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A.J. Burnett Trade Imminent After New York Yankees Set Saturday Deadline

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: A.J. Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after being taken out of the game in the top of the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees on September 7, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images
Doug RushSenior Analyst IFebruary 15, 2012

The New York Yankees have set a deadline to trade A.J. Burnett, their 35-year old starter.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Yankees would like to trade Burnett before Saturday, when the teams' pitchers and catchers are set to report to Tampa.

The Yankees have been engaged in talks with at least four teams: the Pirates, Indians, Angels and one other team the identity is unknown to.

Wallace Matthews of ESPN reported that the Yankees tried to sent Burnett to the Angels in exchange for former Yankee outfielder Bobby Abreu, but Burnett invoked his no-trade clause in citing that he does not want to play on the West Coast. Burnett and his family live in Baltimore during the offseason, so staying on the East Coast would make more sense.

During the week, the Yankees and Indians talked about a Burnett-for-Travis Hafner swap, but that deal fell apart.

On Wednesday afternoon, Rosenthal reported that the Yankees and Pirates were at impasse and that there was a chance that no deal could be made.

According to David Waldstein of the New York Times, that has changed, and the feeling now is that a trade to sent Burnett out of New York is growing very closer to happening before Saturday.

It looks like it will be either the Pirates or the "mystery team" that will land Burnett, and according to Waldstein, Burnett would not block a trade to either team.

It's a good thing the Yankees set the deadline to make the deal for Burnett because I'm sure the Yankees wouldn't want to answer questions about a potential trade during spring training, and I'm really sure Burnett would get agitated by it.

My gut feeling says the Pirates end up landing Burnett, but you never know with these mystery teams.

The Phillies were the mystery team when they snagged Cliff Lee in December of 2010.

The Angels ended up being the mystery team when they landed Albert Pujols in January, as were the Tigers when they landed Prince Fielder too this winter.

So you can never count out "the mystery team." But until then, I still think the Pirates are the favorites.

So until Saturday's deadline comes, Yankee fans all over will just have to anxiously wait until they hear that Burnett has been shipped out of town, something a lot of fans have been wanting for a while now.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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