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A.J. & Russell bolt Bronx, bolster Bucs

10/3/2013
Ex-Yanks Russell Martin and A.J. Burnett are in the playoffs. The Bombers are playing golf. Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

Many in the Yankees' baseball operations department wanted to keep Russell Martin last winter. Not many, if any, thought A.J. Burnett should stay after 2011.

They are now both Pittsburgh Pirates and in the bottom of the first inning Thursday evening in St. Louis, Burnett will be throwing to Martin in Game 1 of the NLDS.

They are in the playoffs, while the Yankees wait for next year.

Before the 2012 season, the Yankees broke their loose policy of not negotiating extensions in the middle of contracts by talking with Martin's agent, Matt Colleran. They never came close to an agreement.

Early that winter, with an eye toward the $189 million mark in 2014, GM Brian Cashman could not offer anything. Martin did not want to wait around and signed with the Bucs for two years and $17 million before the Yankees could make a formal proposal. Martin hit .226 with 15 homers and 55 RBIs for the Bucs this season. He led them to their wild-card victory by going deep twice.

You know Burnett's story, but you may have forgotten the Yankees were required to pay him $8.5 million this season, while the Pirates were responsible for $8 million. Burnett, who is in the final season of his five-year, $82.5 million deal, went 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA in 2013.

How have the two youngsters the Yankees received from the Pirates in the Burnett deal performed in the minors? Diego Moreno, the 26-year-old righty reliever, went 3-4 with a 3.89 ERA in Class A ball and Double-A, while Exicardo Cayones is already out of the Yankees' system. He hit .233 for the Angels' Class A team.