There was some brief panic among Pirate fans yesterday afternoon when more teams started showing up in the AJ Burnett sweepstakes. First, there was word that the Yankees were looking to swap Burnett to Cleveland for Travis Hafner, moving salary for salary and getting the left-handed DH that they want. There was also word that the Angels were interested in Burnett.
We learned pretty quickly, though, that the Indians weren’t interested in a Hafner/Burnett swap and that the Angels are on Burnett’s no trade list, as it’s made up of teams on the West Coast since his wife lives in Maryland. That leaves us where we’ve always been; with the Pirates and Yankees haggling over exactly how much salary the Pirates should take/what sort of prospects the Yankees should receive in return for Burnett.
If you ask me, this is all a good sign for the Pirates. If the Yankees are going around actively shopping Burnett elsewhere, it’s pretty obvious the Bucs have the upper-hand because they’re the only club that has much interest. There’s no hurry on the Pirates’ end; spring training doesn’t start for almost three weeks and a veteran like Burnett is hardly a guy that needs to get to camp super-early. The Pirates absolutely should be trying to get Burnett for as cheaply as possible because if no one else is interested, the Yankees will probably fold on some of their demands. As far as I can tell, no one else is interested.
Buster Olney said last night that the deal is “really really close,” so let’s just sit back and see what happens in the next couple of days.