Hear ye, hear ye: The Pittsburgh Pirates are one team that actually might want to trade for New York Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett.
The Pirates clearly want another starting pitcher — they made one-year and three-year offers to Edwin Jackson before the free-agent right-hander signed with the Washington Nationals last week.
The Pirates also have spoken with the Yankees about Burnett, though those conversations failed to progress and perhaps qualified only as due diligence, major-league sources said.
Burnett, 35, wants to stay with the Yankees and be their fifth starter, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking. But the Yankees have spent the entire offseason trying to move him, and might be even more motivated to complete a trade as spring training nears.
The Yankees, according to the New York Post, want to clear money so they can re-sign both free agent infielder Eric Chavez and add a left-handed designated hitter such as Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui.
Even a minimal savings on the $33 million left on the final two years of Burnett’s contract would help achieve the team achieve that goal. The Pirates would want the Yankees to pay a significant chunk of Burnett’s remaining salary.
Burnett’s contract allows him to block trades to 10 clubs, but the Yankees can send him to the Pirates without restriction; Pittsburgh is not one of the teams on his no-trade list, a source said.
Like most pitchers, Burnett likely would benefit from a move to the NL. He could join a Pirates rotation that already includes right-handers Charlie Morton and James McDonald and lefty Erik Bedard — a rotation that could be reasonably competitive in a division weakened by the defections of Albert Pujols from St. Louis and Prince Fielder from Milwaukee, and the possible suspension of the Brewers’ Ryan Braun for the first 50 games.
— Ken Rosenthal