Ken Rosenthal has an update on the New York Yankees trying to deal starting pitcher A.J. Burnett, and notes that the Pittsburgh Pirates expressed interest at one point (h/t Bucs Dugout). Rosenthal reports that the Yankees haven’t had any success trying to move Burnett, who is owed $16.5 M a year for the next two years. The right hander is coming off back to back years where he put up an ERA above 5.00. His xFIP wasn’t as bad, with a 3.86 mark in 2011. He also puts up a lot of innings, with 190.1 in 2011 and 186.2 in 2010.
Burnett’s contract would obviously require the Yankees to eat salary in any deal. His struggles the last two years, combined with him turning 35 yesterday, don’t really make him an attractive option. He’s lost velocity, seeing his average fastball go from 94.2 MPH in 2009 to 93.1 in 2010 and 92.7 in 2011. His poor numbers can’t be blamed on the new Yankees Stadium since he’s been better at home than on the road the last three years. It probably wouldn’t cost anything to get Burnett, outside of salary, but I’d much rather see the Pirates go a different direction. There are too many red flags with Burnett, even if the Yankees pick up salary.