MLB Trade Rumors: Yankees Possibly Dealing A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh?

Zak SchmollAnalyst IFebruary 9, 2012

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 04:  A J Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees pitches in the sixth inning during Game Four of the American League Divison Series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on October 4, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Yankees defeated the Tigers 10-1.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Pirates have possibly expressed interest in New York Yankees right-handed pitcher A.J. Burnett according to Ken Rosenthal.

If the Pirates are willing to trade for Burnett, the Yankees should strongly consider the offer.

For one thing, according to Joel Sherman, Burnett is owed $33 million over the next two seasons. Obviously, that is a lot of money for a pitcher who will be fighting to even be the fifth starter in New York.

However, this trade isn't all about the Yankees and the fact that they could trim payroll. This is also about what is better for A.J. Burnett.

Like I already mentioned, the Yankees have four starters in place. CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda have definite spots in the rotation.

Burnett, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia are left to fight for that final spot. Of those three, Garcia had the best 2011. While that obviously doesn't guarantee a rotation spot in 2012, the Yankees would probably be fine going with Garcia as the final starter.

Burnett could then go to Pittsburgh and be a part of what is going on over there. 2011 was better than 2010 for Burnett. If he could continue that trend of improvement, the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation could use his help. In fact, it would be kind of interesting to see what would happen if Burnett returned to his peak form and fellow Pirates starter Erik Bedard was able to rebound to his absolute best.

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Trading A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh helps all parties concerned. The Yankees would be able to trim their payroll and eliminate the problem of having too many starters. The Pirates would receive a pitcher who has underperformed but definitely has the potential to lead a rotation. We will see if that will happen, but I think that it should.

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