I feel like I’ve typed this before, but we may be at the end of the A.J. Burnett saga. Buster Olney reports on Twitter that the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates hope to take a deal to the commissioner today for approval. Whenever a deal involves more than $1 M in money changing hands the commissioner has to sign off on it. The recent reports have the Yankees sending about $20 M to the Pirates, which is well over the limit. The process is usually a formality.
What this means is that the two teams are close to a deal. If they’re submitting the deal to the commissioner, that means they’ve agreed on players and money. I’ll keep this post updated throughout the day with more news.
UPDATE 12:34 PM: Joel Sherman has some updates (all links on Twitter). He says that the deal is nearing the finish line, and the best the Yankees could do was salary relief (above $13 M) and two A-ball prospects. Sherman says the prospects aren’t considered much. The commissioners office doesn’t have the deal in hand yet, but Sherman says it is close. Sherman also describes the situation as the Yankees knowing they couldn’t take Burnett to camp as the 7th starter, and having no leverage due to his salary, poor performance, and no-trade clause. He says the Pirates were the only real match.
UPDATE 12:51 PM: Ken Rosenthal reports that the two sides are in agreement, and that they were working on one final detail today. He adds that the Yankees will pay $20 M of the $33 M owed to Burnett, and will receive two lower level prospects. Jon Heyman mentions that there’s still a debate over the players, which could be the final detail Rosenthal was talking about.
UPDATE 1:01 PM: Joel Sherman adds that there is still some haggling on the two middling prospects, but expects that the Commissioner will get the deal approved today, no later than tomorrow.
UPDATE 1:13 PM: Jon Heyman tweets that the debate over the low level minor leaguers sent to the Yankees won’t derail the deal. Heyman also adds that he sees no issue with Burnett passing the physical, nor MLB okaying the deal either.
UPDATE 1:46 PM: Joel Sherman reports that he has heard right-hander Diego Moreno is one of the two prospects that the Yankees will receive in the deal.
Moreno posted a 3.63 ERA over 41 relief appearances combined with High-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona during the 2011 season. He was also Rule-5 eligible this offseason, but the Pirates decided not to protect him.
UPDATE 2:04 PM: Dejan Kovacevic confirms that the deal is complete pending physical and commissioner’s approval. He reports that the Pirates will take on $5 million of Burnett’s salary for 2012, $8 M for 2013. Kovacevic also confirms that Moreno is one of the two prospects sent to the Yankees in the deal. The other low-level prospect he says, is not elite.
UPDATE 2:09 PM: Dejan Kovacevic reports that Burnett will likely have his physical this weekend, then join the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla. Kovavcevic also adds that the approval from the commissioner is expected no later than Monday.