The A.J. trade watch continues
Valentine’s Day is upon us, and A.J. Burnett is still slated to report to camp in Tampa, Fla. by Sunday with the rest of the Yankees’ pitchers and catchers.
It also remains very possible – and, some feel, likely – that Burnett could be changing his travel plans and heading to Bradenton, Fla. to see what life would be like as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
A source told MLB.com over the weekend that the Pirates are “optimistic” that the Burnett trade will eventually go through, and it would seem to be in the Yankees’ best interest to do it before Burnett gets to camp. With four teams said to be interested in Burnett to some level, there is a level of confidence that the Yankees can unload him and save some of the $33 million that he is owed, even if it winds up not being to Pittsburgh.
The New York Post reports the key number appears to be $13 million; the Pirates haven’t yet agreed to pick up that much.
Is there a chance this all gets turned around before then? There sure is. It’s not impossible to picture Burnett standing at his George M. Steinbrenner Field locker, explaining how he handled all of the speculation. But I don’t know if the Yankees would enjoy enjoy a camp where all eyes are trained on the daily Grapefruit League progress reports of Burnett vs. Phil Hughes vs. Freddy Garcia.
- There’s also another interesting nugget in the Post today from Joel Sherman, who notes that there is some concern that free agent Johnny Damon has sacrificed some of his plate discipline to chase 3,000 hits — which might be part of why the Yankees don’t seem too hot on his trail for their DH opening. Damon has made it no secret that he wants to get there, in part to boost his Hall of Fame candidacy, and there are some numbers to back up the suggestion. Sherman points out that Damon’s on-base percentage fell 29 points last year, his walk ratio dipped to 7.9 per 100 plate appearances, and Fangraphs.com reports that Damon chased 31.3 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone.