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Why Are Yanks Dumping Burnett For 30-Year Old Platoon Player?

By Mike Silva ~ February 10th, 2012. Filed under: New York Yankees.

Garrett Jones is, in fact, the guy NYY want in any Burnett deal with the Pirates,but PIT not interested in moving Jones. No traction so far.Thu Feb 09 23:19:30 via web

The rumors of A.J. Burnett going to Pittsburgh are heating up. Buster Olney “tweeted” the Yankees want Garrett Jones in return; something that Pittsburgh appears unwilling to do.

I have no issue with this deal from the Yankees point of view. Jones is probably as good as Raul Ibanez, and they would be ridding themselves of a quarter of Burnett’s money for a player that could help their offense. This is an indication the Yankees don’t believe Burnett is fixable in pinstripes.

The big takeaway is the fact the Yankees don’t see value in Burnett even in the back of their rotation. You can never have enough pitching in today’s game, but the Yankees rather have Burnett pitch somewhere else and pay a majority of the tab. There are rumors the Yanks are willing to pick up about $8 million dollars of the remaining $33 million on the contract. Brian Cashman understands there are certain players that can’t succeed in the New York environment. He admitted that Javier Vazquez is one of those individuals that can’t handle the spotlight. It appears he believes Burnett falls into that same category.

The nature of the New York media is to find a story and make it an issue. Burnett’s play on and off the field makes him a constant target. It’s silly, no doubt, but the Yankees aren’t going to put up with it for a pitcher that produces an ERA over 5.00 and can’t win with an offense that scores over 5 runs a game. His drama off the field, real or imagined, makes it even worse.

Jones is no star, but he’s a great story. He’s averaged 23 HRs, 75 RBI, and a .250 batting average for his career. A late bloomer, Jones finished 7th in the NL Rookie of the Year at the age of 28 after toiling in the Minnesota organization for five years.

He fits what the Yankees are looking for in a DH. He’s left handed, can play the field (OF-1B), and extremely inexpensive (made 455k last year).

Keep in mind, you will need a RH complement, as he hits a paltry .199 against LHP for his career.

From the Pirates point of view is taking on 75% of Burnett’s money a wise move? I think Burnett can be a useful piece in a National League rotation. Maybe Pittsburgh sees the NL Central as wide open and importing a former NL ace can put them in the mix. Personally, I would ask for the Yankees to pick up half ($16 million), but I don’t know if they would do that for a player the ilk of Jones.

Is Burnett at $12 million a season worth it for Pittsburgh? Fangraphs has his performance the last two seasons worth about $6 million dollars. I suspect the Yankees would have to pick up more than $4 million per year to make this deal worth it for Pittsburgh. Perhaps the Pirates do the deal without giving up Jones, which in that case it makes no sense for the Yankees.

That is, unless, you believe they can’t sign a DH without moving Burnett’s money.

I don’t.


Forget Garrett Jones, I think the Yankees might have their DH solution already on the roster.

The Yankees were helped immensely last season by scrapheap pickups like Bartolo ColonFreddy GarciaLuis AyalaCory Wade, and Eric Chavez. It was a banner year for Brian Cashman with those type of moves; historically not a strength.

This week the Yankees imported both Bill Hall and Russell Branyan on minor league deals. With reports that Cashman will have to move A.J. Burnett‘s salary in order to sign a free agent DH, like Raul Ibanez, the acquisition of Branyan might turn out to be an important move.

Branyan is a 36-year old veteran that’s played for 10 teams during his 14-year career. Last season was a down year for Branyan, who hit 56 homers in the two seasons prior. If there is any juice left in the tank I think the Yankees could have found a very productive DH who might thrive in homer-friendly Yankee Stadium.

For his career, Branyan has a .833 OPS against RHP. At the new Yankee Stadium he has 8 home runs in 52 at-bats; good for an OPS of 1.114!

Last year the Yankees cobbled the last two spots in the starting rotation with low risk/high reward pitchers. They rounded out their bullpen in the same manner. No one could have asked for a better return on those moves. I can’t complain if they decide to do this with a lower leverage DH position.

Something tells me that Branyan might be as good as Raul Ibanez at this point in both their careers.

You also could never have enough pitching, so it allows you to keep Burnett around.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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5 Responses to Why Are Yanks Dumping Burnett For 30-Year Old Platoon Player?

  1. Joseph DelGrippo

    This is why the Yankees want to deal Burnett for Garrett Jones:


    I wrote this two weeks ago.

    If the Pirates are willing to pay HALF of Burnett’s contract, then trade him for a bag of batting practice baseballs. That is a flat out steal.

    They don’t need anything in return.

    But if the Pirates want the Yankees to pay even 90%, then ask for a player, but if no go on a player like Jones, then trade AJ for nothing.

    Statistically, Burnett is the worst starting pitcher in baseball. Why a team like the Yankees need him and his wonderful personality is beyond me?

    Funny, that Fangraphs puts the worst starting pitcher in baseball as worth $6 million.

    Funniest thing I read in some time.

    Get rid of him.

  2. Chuck Johnson

    “Why Are Yanks Dumping Burnett For 30-Year Old Platoon Player?”

    Because he’s ten times cheaper than the 37-40 year old platoon players on the market?

  3. Mike Silva

    Let’s remember that by trading Burnett you are still on the hook for about $12 million dollars. The savings on Jones is still overshadowed by the Burnett salary. Is he any better than Ibnanez? I am not sure about that - he can play the field, so in that respect, yes

  4. Joseph Delgrippo

    “Let’s remember that by trading Burnett you are still on the hook for about $12 million dollars.”

    The money doesn’t matter, it is wasted money anyway. I would trade Burnett and eat 90% of the contract just to rid myself of him.

    Burnett is the worst starting pitcher in baseball. Why even have him in your rotation when you have two better options in Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes?

  5. UncleMario

    Wasn’t the Yankees on the hook for the rest of Kenny Rogers’contract when they traded him to the A’s in 1997?

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