Trading A.J. (A season long mini-series --- or shorter)

February, 8, 2012
2/08/12
10:06
AM ET
There are many reasons to believe that right now the Yankees can't trade A.J. Burnett. However, that is not going to keep them from trying. Yankees GM Brian Cashman first said he could trade Burnett at the beginning of this offseason. So the whispers have been present the whole winter.

Are they about to become louder?

So even if you think Burnett is not as bad as most believe, as Wally Matthews argued yesterday, the only way to really deal him is to eat a lot of his money. Then the Yankees have to ask themselves if they are better with Burnett or without Burnett.

We reported yesterday that the Yankees would like to do still sign both a DH (Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez or Hideki Matsui) and Eric Chavez. Joel Sherman of the Post said he thinks the Yankees will need to trade Burnett to do that. We shall see.

Here is the thing on Burnett. I don't believe he would like losing his spot in the rotation. However, I also don't think he would be a huge distraction either. In fact, it may prove as a motivator for him.

Since Burnett's been with the Yankees they have tried to coddle him with his preference of catcher (No Jorge, thanks) and the days that he pitches, however some tough love may work better.

Burnett may speak his mind, but I think they will likely become one day stories with Burnett doing his best to avoid public spats. I could be wrong, but that is what my gut tells me.

As a scout -- probably a better source of info than my gut -- told me yesterday the Yankees are going to need seven or eight starters, at least, so they don't have to trade any of these starters.

To me, to trade Burnett so you can fit Ibanez and Eric Chavez onto your roster doesn't make that much sense. (I'm in favor of Damon over Ibanez, in case you didn't know.)

As for Chavez, he is a talented and pleasant guy, but he really isn't worth much. You can dream about him staying healthy, but he never does. His 58 games last year were the most for him since he played 90 in 2007. So what is he really worth? How much worse would he be with, say, Brandon Laird? In theory, Laird would be available more.

MLB Trade Rumors looked into something I had on my agenda for today. What teams could possibly want A.J.? Which clubs could be a match? They had the Pirates, the White Sox, the Orioles and the A's.

Now, Burnett has 10 teams he can block trades to and it is unknown if any of those teams are on the list. Besides the fact his wife is from the Baltimore area, I can't really see why he would want to go to any of those cities. He may not have a choice, though, if he didn't put them on the list.

Ultimately, with two years and $33 million remaining on his contact, the Yankees are going to have to eat about $23M to $25M, in our estimation, if they are going to be able to trade Burnett before spring training.

If it doesn't happen in the next two weeks, the story will not disappear. This is a mini-series may be just getting started, even if the Yankees hope to make it short-lived.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Brett Gardner
BA HR RBI R
.283 14 47 68
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 18
RBIM. Teixeira 50
RB. Gardner 68
OPSB. Gardner .816
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135