Sunday, January 22, 2012

Yanks Still Trying to Trade AJ

From Jeff Bradley:
Because future moves Cashman may or may not make this off-season hinge on whether the GM can move Burnett. A source with knowledge of the Yankee organization’s plan for the rest of the off-season said, “It’s a waiting game now to see if A.J. can be dealt. If he is, the Yankees will hope to get a bat in return, or save enough money to get a bat.”

It is tricky, of course, because the whole baseball world knows after the Yankees acquired (pending a clean physical) Michael Pineda from the Seattle Mariners and signed free agent Hiroki Kuroda that the next move Cashman would hope to make is to offload Burnett and a sizeable portion of the $33 million he is owed over the next two seasons.

“I think Burnett has some bounce-back potential,” said one rival executive. “And I think teams would be interested in him at the right value per year. Of course, that would mean the Yankees would have to eat far more than half of his remaining contract — closer to two-thirds, I would think. In addition to that, there are still decent free-agent options out there — Roy Oswalt and Edwin Jackson in particular — and a few other trade alternatives, so it’s hard for me to think they’ll be able to move him.”

For now, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is telling Cashman he’s out of money, so while the agents for free agents such as Vladimir Guerrero, Raul Ibanez, Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon have initiated contact with the Yankees, they have all been told not to wait around on an offer from Cashman. Of course, Steinbrenners have been known to change their minds in the past, and some money may magically appear before spring training, but for now, the Yankees mission is to see how much they can save on Burnett.

“Around the game, Burnett has become the symbol for wasted money,” said an AL East scout who also believes the Yankees will have to eat at least $20 million. “When you’ve got a guy who has managed to pitch below .500 (34-35) for a team with the Yankees offense, yeah, it’ll make you apprehensive. This is the question now being asked, even about guys like Oswalt and Jackson. How much do you pay for mediocrity?”

If the Yankees don’t want to eat a lot of Burnett’s salary, the other option is to take a chance on another team’s mistake.

Names that always seem to come to mind when you think of bad contracts include the former Yankee Alfonso Soriano, who is owed $54 million the next three years by the Chicago Cubs; Vernon Wells, due to make $63 million the next three years in Anaheim; and Jason Bay, whom the Mets owe $49 million over the next three years.
At this point I can't see how any other team would take a shot on Burnett, but stranger things have happened. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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