Rumor: Yankees spending limited until A.J. Burnett is traded

As the Yankees are looking to fill their DH role they are stating that they have just $1-$2 million to spend. That number would go up  if they could find a way to trade A.J. Burnett though, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

The Yankees have been trying to trade Burnett all offseason, but have had no luck so far. General manager Brian Cashman suggested that he would be willing to get creative and we’ve heard that they are willing to eat as much as $8 million to move him.

Now that they have revamped their rotation by adding Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda they are likely to be more motivated to move Burnett. Heyman suggested they might be willing to eat as much as $23 million of the $33 million he is owed. That seems a bit high, but that might be necessary if they are serious about moving him.

The Yankees need to fill two more roles this offseason, signing a backup to Alex Rodriguez, probably Eric Chavez, and add a DH. They can’t do that with just $2 million and they have seven starters for five rotation spots. Cashman will be trying his best over the rest of the offseason to swap one of his starters, preferrably Burnett, but probably Phil Hughes otherwise, to add one of the two bats they still need.

The problem is that Burnett and Hughes didn’t do much last year to make them attractive pieces. Cashman has proved to be better than most of us expected this offseason. Let’s see if he can pull off his coup.

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19 Responses to Rumor: Yankees spending limited until A.J. Burnett is traded

  1. Anthony Puleo says:

    I can see them moving AJ and eating a bunch of his salary rather than moving a guy like Hughes who makes just $3 million a year and still has tremendous upside potential. Even if you only recoup $5 million a year from Burnett's contract, that should be enough, with the $2 million, to sign a backup 3B as well as a platoon-type DH to go along with Jones. Trading Hughes would probably bring back a better quality player, and therefore more money coming back (I'm referring to Butler and his $8 million).

    Trading AJ is also addition by subtraction. By removing him and his albatross contract, you are shipping away all the bad vibes associated with him. There is no such distaste for Hughes, as he doesn't make the kind of money that would accompany such anger. Even if Hughes ends up in the pen (which AJ cannot do), he is a much more valuable commodity to keep on the team. AJ must go, even if it only saves them a small portion of his salary and bring back a A scrub. This move would be all about clearing some cash for the 25th man on the roster and clearing the grey cloud that follows AJ whenever he takes his turn on the mound.

    Cashman is a very smart GM and will get this done when we least expect it. I wouldn't be shocked if he waits until Spring Training when someone else loses a pitcher and gets desperate. DH candidates will always be available. Besides, we can always fill these positions in house. Nunez can learn to play better D and I'm sure we have a bat or two in AAA who can take the other side of the DH platoon at bats with Jones. Even if we move AJ, that could be a very intelligent option. Not all problems are solved by throwing money at them.

    All in all, I believe that Cashman has constructed a championship caliber team, and at the same time, set the Yankees up to be successful and a very lean machine in the future.

    • Mike Sommer says:

      Hughes is still 25, 26 this summer. His splits: 4.90 ERA starting, 1.44 relieving.

    • 7peteandrepeat7 says:

      Here's the solution: A.J. Burnette and Nick Swisher to the Indians for Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona. This assumes Carmona can solve his identity problem. If Sizemore is over his injuries, he is better than Swisher. Carmona had an off year last year, plus if he reunited with CC, he may resort back to his Cy Young form. Two ifs for the Yankees, but the upside is worth the risk on both players. Plus the Yanks free up salary for a DH. Sizemore's and Carmona's salaries are $5 mil and $7 mil respectively, Swisher and Burnette are $10.5 mil and 16.5 mil respectively. If the Yanks eat $7 mil a year of Burnette's salary for two years. That leaves $8 mil for a DH.
      The next step is Phil Hughes for the Royals Billy Butler.

  2. hotdog says:

    Hughes was a great prospect not too long ago. Had a great 2009 as a set up guy. 2010 he went something like 18-8 even though he tailed off mightily towards the end of the season. 2011 was a mystery. I also feel that Hughes could be a good starter for the team but I'm not sure if he'll get that chance. He likely needs a change of scenery to revamp his career. He could still be an elite pitcher but most likely not in New York. If they trade him, I hope it's to a National League team. I just hope he never dons a Red Sox uniform.

    • Stewartsmall says:

      Hughes apparently lacks the mental toughness to pitch on the big stage. Hes far from the first-Ed Whitson, Steve Trout come to mind. Im sure someone like the Orioles might not mind having him.

  3. Tanned Tom says:

    It seems to me that Cashman wouldn't have acquired Pineda and Kuroda if he didn't think he could trade at least 1 of Garcia, Burnett, Hughes. I think Anthony's hit the nail on the head when talks about trading Burnett being addition by subtraction. With so many internal options (Garcia, the AAA starters Warren and Phelps, etc) there's no reason to keep Burnett as the 5th starter. Now that he doesn't need Burnett's 180 innings, I'm hoping Cashman will bite the bullet and do what it takes to move this guy.
    As for Nunez playing better "D", fielding is the part of the game that changes the least as a player moves up the ranks, so it's unlikely we'll see much improvement here, Not impossible, but unlikely.
    And there is no need for a DH. A-Rod, with his post-steroid use fragility, will need at least 50 games at DH. Jones and Chavez could each get 25 games. Then spreading the rest out among the remaining regulars would make the jam cover the bread.

    • Fielding is one of the things that can be improved the most easily actually. Lots of guys have been able to change themselves and make them better fielders. Nick Swisher did it, Wade Boggs turned himself into a gold glover. Derek Jeter committed nearly 60 errors in the majors one year.

      It might not happen overnight, but its not out of the question that Nunez can transform himself into a good fielder. He's certainly athletic enough.

      • Fred says:

        When you look at Nunez's errors, they seem more of a product of nerves or a mental error than a physical issue. I don't think his arm is innately bad.

        Once he stops worrying about being under the microscope, I think he'll end up being an average fielder

    • Gonzalo says:

      I completely agree with Tanned Tom about the needs for a DH, Jones is more than ok against lefties, also ARod and Jeter will need a lot of games like DH.
      For the rest Chavez would be a good DH against right pitchers.

    • ron says:

      Trade Hughes, Burnett, and Joba to the Mets for Johan Santana….. Salary wise it's a wash for both teams.

      The Mets would shed 16 of the 21 mil from Santana within two years. Hughes or Joba could be used as trade bait that could possiby lower the payroll even more this year or next for the Mets. If the Yanks don't sign Kuroda next year they'll shave 10 mil from payroll as well.

      No need to uproot the families to another city/state.

      • Honestly, I expect more production out of Hughes and Joba. Shoulder injuries are nasty things, we don't even know if Santana is ever going to be effective again.

  4. babba says:

    Where did you get DJ committing almost 60 errors in the majors 1 year. The most he ever had was 24 in 2000. Even his rookie year was only 22 errors. The guy has a career .976 fielding %. However your point is not lost on me and I agree for the most part minus the incorrect data on DJ.

  5. Stewartsmall says:

    I know Theo Epstein may not like this, but why not a Soriano for Burnett trade? Burnett would likely be better in the NL , the Cubs get some salary relief and both teams can fill a need. Sorry Oh No is still a 20HR guy, even in Yankee stadium. Why not take a shot, Theo?

    • Jacques says:

      Not happening. Yankees are trying to get under the $189 million tax line by 2014, and Soriano still has 3 years left (which is more than Burnett's remaining salary)

      Plus, Yankees are looking for left-handed batter to platoon with Andrus Jones at DH. Soriano isn't the answer.

  6. Jacques says:

    Hughes lacks a developed secondary pitch. Two years ago he has been using the cutter less often, which led him to use 4 seamer most of the time. Although inning jump from 2009 has been a factor, the fact that Hughes has been relying too much with his fastball is another factor why his performance fell apart. And of course, the velocity wasn't there last year, thus creating a disaster for him. By then, he did not have a good changeup or cutter to fully compensate for his poor fastball.

    Which leads me to a conclusion: Why not put Hughes in Triple-A and let him develop a secondary pitch, like how Ivan Nova did last year during June? Hughes have a minor league option remaining. Garcia and Burnett can battle for the 5th spot, with the loser being the long man. I think this will alleviate pressure off of Hughes in the beginning of the season and this will also help him properly stretch out; no need for him to pitch 7,8 innings in April. If one of the starters are injured/falters, Hughes can be the guy

  7. The Oracle says:

    How about axing Swisher and going real hard after Yoennis Cespedes, a future 5 tool star.

    The Oracle

  8. Tom says:

    The unconfirmed rumor is that AJ Burnett was traded to Boston…the Red Sox then announced that he'll be their # 1 starter this coming season (;