The suggested trade between the NY Yankees and Pittsburgh that could make A.J. Burnett a Pirate is near though not quite finished, and there are signs that the Yankees are pressuring Pittsburgh to sweeten its offer for the beleaguered 35-year-old right-hander.
According to resources on each side of the deal who spoke on the state of anonymity, there is still optimism that a trade might be finished, perhaps as fast as this week, but there were still major hurdles to be cleared. Odds
“We are in stare-down mode,” an official with direct understanding of the talks asserted. Scores
The Angels also have attention in Burnett, but LA is on Burnett’s no-trade list. There has been no implication that Burnett will waive the clause to play on the West Coast.
Former Yankee Bobby Abreu may be the target for NY. Abreu is owed $9 million from the Angels, who don’t seem to have a spot for him to play constantly. Sources still think that the Pirates are the favorites to get Burnett, but no agreement has been agreed to yet.
And the evolution of a new player, the Cleveland Indians, in the mix complicates matters further.
Although a source that is close to Burnett characterized a offer between the Yankees and Pirates as “imminent,” a source in the Yankees franchise said the Pirates would need to sweeten their offer before anything is finalized.
“I might still say it is 50-50 that the agreement gets done,” the team source asserted, “but I wouldn’t use the word ‘imminent.”
Presently, the framework of the agreement has the Yankees exchanging Burnett for an undetermined number of prospects, and in exchange, the Pirates would agree to presume some of the remaining $33 million on Burnett’s agreement, which has two more years remaining on it.
“Ten million ain’t going to get it done,” claimed the Yankees source, making reference to the amount of Burnett’s income the Pirates have agreed to pay. “Not unless we get top-level prospects.”
The Pirates’ highest-rated player, right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole, is not among the players being offered in the contract.
“The better the players they give us, the less cash they have to pay, and backwards,” related the Yankees source, who added that 3 other clubs were still interested in Burnett. A source announced the Yankees took a phone call from the Indians about Burnett.
“Pittsburgh remains the front-runner here,” the source announced, “but plenty of things can happen. We could cut a deal with them, we may cut a deal with another club or we won’t strike a deal at all.”
Burnett’s agent, Darek Braunecker, asserted in a telephone interview that Burnett was set for any aftermath. “He wasn’t blindsided by this,” Braunecker recounted. “He knew the Yankees added pitching in the offseason and he knew there could be competition in spring training, and he was looking forward to it. He was buzzed about it.”
Asked if Burnett would be well placed to resume a constructive working relationship with the Yankees if the suggested deal falls to bits, Braunecker related, “Unquestionably. He’s a pro and he’s always had a satisfactory relationship with the Yankees and [GM] Brian Cashman. He’s been around a while and knows what the agreement is.”