A.J. Burnett Rumors
A.J. Burnett is mulling whether to retire after the 2013 season, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. However, if the 36-year-old decides to keep playing, he might only consider an offer from the Pirates for next season.
“I enjoy it here and I enjoy these guys,” Burnett said. “If I was to keep playing, I wouldn't want it to be anywhere else but Pittsburgh. My wife and I talk about it now and then. But it's something I've got to put on the back burner. I'm just going to concentrate on this season, one start at a time.”
While Burnett is fond of Pittsburgh, he says that he is not currently talking with the club about a new deal. Last year, Burnett posted a 3.51 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 31 starts.
The right-hander is in the final year of a five-year, $82.5MM contract that he initally signed with the Yankees, so he won't be hurting for cash if he decides to walk away. For his career, Burnett owns a 4.05 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 across 14 seasons with the Marlins, Blue Jays, Yankees, and Bucs.
The Yankees (69-47) own the best record in the AL, but the Mets (55-61) grabbed some headlines yesterday by acquiring Kelly Shoppach from the Red Sox for a player to be named later. Here's the latest out of the Big Apple...
- Ken Davidoff of The New York Post says that the Shoppach acquisition is an encouraging pickup because it shows the Mets are willing to take on money at midseason, something they haven't done in recent years.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson isn't sure how much money he'll have to spend on his roster this offseason, reports Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal. He said he also has yet to think about extending manager Terry Collins, who is under contract through next season.
- Davidoff reports that the Yankees preferred Derek Lowe to A.J. Burnett during the 2008-2009 offseason, but they had concerns about the sinkerballer's ground ball tendencies and their infield defense. New York signed Burnett back then, but traded him to the Pirates this offseason while adding Lowe this week.
Some links pertaining to baseball's two Central Divisions, which are currently led by the White Sox and Reds...
- The Reds aren't interested in Lyle Overbay, general manager Walt Jocketty told reporters including John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). Jocketty mentions Overbay's defensive limitation and says his team likes Xavier Paul. Overbay was released by the D-backs earlier today.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti is exploring the trade market for both Johnny Damon and Derek Lowe, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Antonetti feels there's a chance that he can complete trades within their respective 10-day windows. Cleveland recently designated Damon and Lowe for assignment.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that Antonetti is happy with the job Manny Acta has done and expects him to be the Indians' manager in 2013. Antonetti did concede that the front office and coaching staff may have over-evaluated the roster's talent in Spring Training.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington says he is actively monitoring the waiver wire and will make claims to improve his team or block others from improving theirs, writes Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Pirates haven't explored an extension with A.J. Burnett as of yet, Huntington told reporters including the Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempfel (Sulia link). Huntington says the team's focus is currently on making the playoffs.
With the Pirates riding a four-game winning streak and sitting just one-half game behind the NL Central-leading Reds, GM Neal Huntington met with reporters today including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Sulia).
- The Pirates pushed their budget to the limit with the Spring Training acquisition of A.J. Burnett, but Huntington isn't concerned about adding payroll. "We've got some flexibility," Huntington said without elaborating. Biertempfel has received indications the front office has requested and received permission from owner Bob Nutting to increase payroll, if necessary, at the trade deadline.
- With the trade deadline a little over a week away, Huntington says reality is starting to hit some teams. "Teams are starting to reach out with two-way logic -- still looking to add but reality is starting to set in they might need to sell. There are not more clear sellers, but (more) teams that are beginning to prepare if they decide to go in that direction."
- On trade talks, Huntington said he's "no busier than we've been the last couple last weeks of July."
- On trading the pick obtained in the new Competitive Balance Lottery, Huntington said, "It's another asset for us. We've got a certain value on it. If we get that value, it's no different than a prospect in our system who we've played a value on. We're not looking to move it. It will be interesting to see how industry values it."
Brayan Pena's attempt to stretch a single into a double in the 9th inning drew a throw from the outfield and allowed Jarrod Dyson to score from third with the game-winning run in the Royals' 4-3 result over the Brewers tonight. It was Kansas City's second unusual walkoff victory in as many nights, as they won on a bases-loaded walk from Mike Moustakas on Wednesday. The Royals picked up the sweep against Milwaukee, winning all three games by one run.
Here's the latest from around the majors...
- The Nationals' trade for Gio Gonzalez was the "best deal anyone made last winter," a rival scout tells Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. "They didn't get him cheap, but he can dominate, and how many starters can you say that about?" The Nats look like the big winners of the deal thus far, given Washington's first-place position and Gonzalez's Cy Young Award-caliber numbers since joining the team.
- David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News breaks down what the Phillies could possibly receive for some of their top assets on the trade market.
- The Phillies, Brewers, Cubs, Astros and Red Sox are positioned to dominate the rumor mill leading up to the trade deadline, predicts Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
- Despite injuries to Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara, Rangers GM Jon Daniels "still feels good" about his bullpen, reports Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest (Twitter link).
- A.J. Burnett has brought both veteran leadership and quality pitching to the Pirates, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. “It was important for our guys to see a guy that’s brought in and it’s not a trading-deadline deal where you have a guy for two months,” said manager Clint Hurdle. “We brought in a guy for two years. He can go ahead and unpack his bags. He’s going to be around, he can be involved, be engaged.”
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski outlines his team's pursuit of Roy Oswalt to John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press. Dombrowski said the Tigers were prepared to meet Oswalt's salary demands in the offseason but the veteran just didn't want to pitch in Detroit. Oswalt's representatives contacted Dombrowski again once the season began and Oswalt was without a team, but the Tigers had already moved on with Drew Smyly in the rotation.
Though two NL Central veterans dominated headlines this offseason, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder signed with American League teams and Aramis Ramirez's three-year, $36MM deal with the Brewers was the largest free agent contract by any of the division's six teams. Here are the latest links from the NL Central...
- The Pirates announced that they expect A.J. Burnett’s eye injury to sideline him until two or three months from now. The right-hander underwent surgery today after injuring himself in a bunting drill.
- Cardinals chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that the Cardinals couldn't take the chance of letting Yadier Molina hit free agency. "We didn't extend Molina because he had a good year offensively last year,” he said. “We extended him because of the bulk of the work since he became a regular in 2005." Molina and the Cardinals finalized a five-year, $75MM extension yesterday.
- Four of the ten people Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has hired might be described as geeks or nerds, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports from the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston (Twitter links). Luhnow said he’s had a clean slate, since the Astros weren't doing much in terms of analytics before hiring him.
Now that the calendar has flipped to March, Opening Day seems that much closer. Here are some links from around MLB, starting with a pair of injury updates...
- The Pirates announced that A.J. Burnett has an orbital fracture of his right eye and will require surgery. The club didn’t provide a timetable for the right-hander, who was acquired from the Yankees last month.
- The Indians announced that Grady Sizemore underwent a “minimally invasive low back procedure” and is expected to miss two to three months.
- Agent Jeff Berry told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that no discussions about a multiyear deal for Giants catcher Buster Posey are expected to take place before Opening Day. Posey hasn't played since last May 25th, so it's more likely that an extension would become a priority next offseason.
- Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner confirmed to reporters, including Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger, that he is intent on lowering payroll below $189MM by 2014 for luxury tax purposes (Twitter link).
Let's celebrate perhaps the last year of a six-team NL Central with spring training links for all the clubs...
- Pirates infielder Gustavo Nunez, who was taken from the Tigers in December's Rule 5 draft, was placed on the 60-day DL with a right ankle injury, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Side effects of the move: the Pirates buy some time before deciding whether to put Nunez on the 25-man roster, and a 40-man roster spot is opened for new acquisition A.J. Burnett.
- The Burnett acquisition creates competition at the back end of the Pirates' rotation, writes Biertempfel. He believes Kevin Correia and Jeff Karstens will battle for the last spot, if everyone is healthy. Burnett talked to reporters this morning. One interesting news tidbit was his comment that one ever asked him about a potential Angels trade, though he confirmed he's not interested in the West Coast for family reasons. Unprompted, Burnett debunked the rumors about his wife's transportation preferences, saying with a smile, "She loves to fly."
- Ryan Madson's $8.5MM commitment with the Reds is spread out over three budgets, explains ESPN's Buster Olney: "$2MM during the 2012 season, $2MM in deferred salary on Nov. 1, 2012 -- which is the start of the 2013 budget -- and another $2MM in deferred salary, without interest, on Nov. 1, 2013, at the outset of the 2014 fiscal year. In the middle of that, they have a $2.5MM buyout on an $11 million option for 2013." On the topic of his one-year deal, Madson told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon, "I take it as motivation to show people again, to prove that it's real. It's unfortunate it's that way but I'm not complaining. I'm very happy. I'm very privileged to have this opportunity, and I just want to run with it and show people that I will be OK."
- Righty Brett Tomko always wanted to come back to Cincinnati, he told John Fay of the Enquirer. Tomko said it's taken two years to recover from a 2009 pinched nerve.
- The Astros could have a new player at all nine positions for Opening Day 2012 compared to '11, writes Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.
- Astros 2010 supplemental first-round pick Mike Kvasnicka is moving back to catcher from third base, tweets Levine. Kvasnicka was recently ranked 25th among Astros prospects by Baseball America.
- "I'm not one to look back with animosity, however people or fans want to view my time there," former Cubs GM Jim Hendry told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Hendry noted that it was "just nice" to be wanted by the Yankees, "the most storied franchise in sports." He's now with the Yankees as a special assistant to GM Brian Cashman, and isn't worrying about becoming a GM again.
- "They always say contract years turn out to be great years," Brewers starter Chris Narveson mentioned to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum are entering contract years, while Randy Wolf has a $10MM club option for '13 with a $1.5MM buyout.
- Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright refuses to put a limit on his innings following 2011 Tommy John surgery, he told MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch, but she notes that GM John Mozeliak has said 200 frames is likely out of the question.
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.
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.
Here's a look at today's links as players settle in for Spring Training..
- Athletics skipper Bob Melvin expects to see roster additions on pitching and position player sides before the full camp opens, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
- The Phillies were exploring a three-way trade to land A.J. Burnett, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. A third team would have been brought in to allow the club to unload Joe Blanton.
- The Diamondbacks might have to find a more permanent solution at shortstop if Stephen Drew doesn't fully recover from his ankle injury, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Arizona holds a $10MM mutual option on Drew for 2013.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) be surprised to see the Angels make two trades before the end of Spring Training due to the amount of redundancy on their roster.
- Manny Ramirez worked out for the Athletics and the club could sign the slugger within the next week, writes Jane Lee of MLB.com.