PITTSBURGH — The Pirates and the New York Yankees have agreed upon a deal sending right-hander A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh, pending a physical and approval from the commissioner, Dejan Kovacevic reports.
Under the terms of the deal, the Yankees will be paying $20 M of the $33M remaining on Burnett’s contract over the next two years. The Pirates will pay $5 M of Burnett’s salary for the 2012 season, $8 M for 2013.
In return, the Yankees received minor leaguers right-hander Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones.
Moreno, 25, posted a 3.63 ERA over 41 appearances of relief combined with High-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona during the 2011 season. The right-hander throws hard but has struggled with injuries and has yet to pitch out of Double-A over five seasons in the minors. Moreno was Rule-5 eligible this offseason, but the Pirates decided to leave him unprotected.
Cayones, 20, hit .228 with 14 runs, five doubles, three triples, 12 RBI and three stolen bases over 38 games combined with the GCL Pirates and State College Spikes in 2011. Cayones hit just .063 to start the 2011 season before being demoted to the GCL, where he finished the season there with a .293 avg.
First baseman Garrett Jones was reported to be a player that the Yankees originally wanted in the deal, but the Pirates were not willing to part ways with Jones, who has led the Pirates with 58 home runs since 2009.
Burnett, 35, went 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA over 32 starts with the Yankees during the 2011 season. The 6’4” right-hander struck out 173 batters over 190.1 innings. Over three seasons with the Yankees, Burnett posted a 4.79 ERA. Burnett has made at least 32 starts in each of the past four seasons and averages 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings over his 13-year career in the Majors.
Adding pitching depth was an offseason priority of the Pirates. They will now enter spring training with six starters –Erik Bedard, Burnett, Kevin Correia, Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton and James McDonald — forcing one to move into the ‘pen.
Burnett became expendable to the Yankees after two offseason additions to the rotation of Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda. The Yankees were also looking for salary relief to add a hitter.
An 8th round pick by the New York Mets in 1995, Burnett made his Major League debut in 1999 with the Florida Marlins. Over parts of seven seasons with the Marlins, Burnett went 49-50 with a 3.73 ERA. In 2001, Burnett led the National League in shutouts and also pitched a no-hitter. He also led the American League in strikeouts (231) in 2008. Burnett posted a 3.94 ERA with the Toronto Blue Jays over three seasons before signing his five-year $82.5 million deal with New York.