Pirates Acquire Burnett From Yankees

After more than a week of back-and-forth discussion, the Yankees and Pirates formally announced the deal that will send A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh.  The trade allows the Bombers to unload $13MM of the $33MM still owed to the veteran pitcher over the next two years.  Aside from shedding payroll, the Yanks also receive outfielder Exicardo Cayones and right-hander Diego Moreno in the trade.

With the Burnett deal finalized, the Yankees will now have the flexibility to add a bat or two.  The club is reportedly eyeing Raul Ibanez and would like to bring back Eric Chavez as well.

As Tim Dierkes noted last week, the Pirates were a solid fit for the 35-year-old as the club has struggled to find a frontline starter on the open market.  Burnett held a limited no-trade clause which allowed him to block trades to ten clubs, but it appears that the Bucs were not on that list.

Burnett will take a physical on Sunday and, due to the amount of money changing hands, the trade will be subject to league approval.  The Bucs will pay the right-hander $5MM in 2012 and $8MM in '13 as they look to help him return to his pre-2010 form.

The much-maligned Burnett posted a 4.79 ERA, a 1.99 K/BB ratio and a 1.45 WHIP in three seasons with New York after signing a five-year, $82.5MM contract in the 2008-09 offseason.  He did, however, play a key role in the Yankees' 2009 World Series title and averaged 195 innings per year during his time in the Bronx.  This durability makes the 35-year-old Burnett an attractive quantity to the Pirates, who haven't had a pitcher reach 195 innings since 2009. 

The Pirates have been looking for veteran starting pitching this winter but, after signing Erik Bedard, were turned down by free agents Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt.  Burnett will have a guaranteed spot in a Pittsburgh rotation that will also feature Bedard and James McDonald, with Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton and Kevin Correia all likely battling for the final two spots.

For the Yankees, getting $13MM of Burnett's salary off the books frees up enough payroll space for the team to pursue some depth needs.  We've heard the Yankees are looking at Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez as left-handed bats to fill the part-time DH and backup infield roles, respectively.

The finalization of the deal was first reported by Ken Rosnethal of FOX Sports (Twitter links).  Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com (via Twitter) reported Cayones' inclusion in the deal while Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted the news of Moreno heading to New York.  Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter) had the breakdown of how the Bucs will pay Burnett. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter) first reported that Burnett passed his physical and the trade was approved by MLB.

Zach Links contributed to this post.


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