The talks for A.J. Burnett have been at a stand-still for awhile now. The news we heard Tuesday was the same news we heard last Friday. Everyone expects a deal to be completed between the two teams, but the Yankees want the Pirates to pick up more than $10 M. We’ve been hearing the same thing every day. The two sides continue to work, but they’re still in stare down mode.
Yesterday, in the Burnett rumor thread on the site, there were some sentiments expressed that the Pirates should give in and pay the extra $3 M to close the deal. Most of that seems fueled by one thing: fans being worried that another team will step in and offer to pick up more money, only for the Yankees to make a deal.
Fans really have no reason to worry in this case, and the Pirates have no reason to cave. All of the reports say that the Yankees consider the Pirates the best match. I think we can take that as code for “they will pick up the most money”. There are only three other teams in on Burnett. Two of them are out of the mix as of today’s reports. The Indians discussed a Travis Hafner swap, but Cleveland writers reported that the Indians are done, and their signing of Jon Garland might have sealed that. The Angels are on Burnett’s no-trade list, and considering why they’re on his list — his wife’s fear of flying — it doesn’t seem likely that Burnett would accept a deal that would send him to Los Angeles for two years.
The Yankees are trying to make this deal so that they can add Eric Chavez and a left handed designated hitter like Raul Ibanez. They’ve got four rotation spots locked up, with Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia battling it out for the fifth spot. If anyone thinks they’re going to keep Burnett, then they’re probably not looking at the Yankees’ situation. If they keep Burnett they don’t get to add Chavez and Ibanez, and they only add a third guy to the fifth starter mix.
It’s because of this that the Pirates have no reason to cave and throw in an extra $3 M to get the deal done. A good point was raised yesterday in the comments: if it’s only $3 M, then why can’t the Yankees assume that money? If $1.5 M a year is meaningless to the Pirates, then it’s definitely meaningless to the Yankees. Burnett isn’t exactly a desirable asset. He’s an upgrade for the Pirates over their current fifth starter, Kevin Correia. You add him to take the gamble that he can rebound from his last two years and go back to being the pitcher he was before New York. The Yankees really have no leverage at all here. It would make sense for the Pirates to cave if the Yankees were better off keeping Burnett, or if another team was making a strong push, or if Burnett was a serious upgrade to the team. But none of those situations exist, which is why the Pirates have no incentive to give in to the Yankees.
**I’ll be doing a daily post on the blog just like this one. The post will always go up around 12-1 AM, and will be a summary of the previous day and something to get the next day started for those of you who go to bed at a respectable hour. I’ve been trying to think up a name for the feature. I asked for some input on Twitter. Here are some of the ideas:
My ideas: “Tee It Up”, “Batting Practice”, “The Cycle”. I kind of like the one that has nothing to do with baseball.
Some of the Twitter ideas: “The 10th Inning”, “Daily Pirate Refresh”, “Bucs Quick Hits”, “Daily Dish”, “The Daily Post on My Blog”. That last one is kind of like in college when you had a paper due the next day, and at 11 PM the night before all you had come up with was “It’s important to practice business ethics because no one likes a tool.”
Feel free to weigh in on the above names, or submit your own ideas, in the comments.
**Tomorrow I’ll be uploading the 2012 draft prospect trackers. This is the fourth year I’ve done this, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s start small. I’m only going to have profiles for four players, mostly because so much can change between now and June. The field is wide open at this point for pick number eight. The college season starts on Friday. As the year goes on, I’ll add more players. For now I’ll be going with Victor Roache, Trey Williams, Byron Buxton, and Gavin Cecchini.
**Looks like the Pirates are going to sign Chris Gimenez, likely to a minor league deal, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com. Cue the over-reactions that come with any minor signing the Pirates make. There’s really no point in getting worked up over these types of moves. For the majority of non-roster invitees there are only two ways they will see the majors: if they somehow have a breakout season (like Garrett Jones in 2009) or if there is a total disaster at a certain position. Odds are that these types of signings will either be AA/AAA bench players, or will be released when Spring Training ends. If you think the Pirates are the only ones making moves like this, just look around the league. The Rays signed Jeff Salazar today. The last time he was in the majors was in 2009, with the Pirates, when he went 1-for-23 at the plate.
**Speaking of minor moves, the Pirates won’t be signing Dmitri Young.
**Baseball America will be releasing their top 100 prospects list next week.