Discussion

Yankees facing urgency on Burnett

Updated: February 13, 2012, 3:55 PM ET
By Buster Olney

As reported Sunday morning, the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees have the framework in place for an A.J. Burnett deal, and history tells us that the deal will be done in the next four or five days. The Yankees have always worked to steer around spring training distractions, with the most notable example occurring in 1999.

Through January, David Wells had made noises about wanting a new contract, and he made no secret of the fact that he was going to show up to camp out of shape. The Yankees had been talking with the Toronto Blue Jays on and off about a possible trade for Roger Clemens during the winter, and when Toronto re-engaged just before spring training opened, the Yankees began working to complete a Wells-for-Clemens trade quickly.

What the Yankees did not want was Wells showing up to camp and immediately griping to reporters about his contract and dominating the conversation. Similarly, the Blue Jays wanted to get the Clemens deal done so that the first few days of their camp weren't all about Roger's desire to be traded.

So shortly after Wells walked into the clubhouse for the first day of camp -- in fact, just a couple of minutes after his arrival -- he was summoned into Joe Torre's office. Wells thought it was because Torre was upset that he still had facial hair, but in fact, it was so GM Brian Cashman and Torre could tell him that he'd been traded. Wells, deeply hurt by the deal, immediately snuck out without talking with reporters.

The Yankees don't want spring training to be all about the competition for the No. 5 spot in their rotation, a daily assessment of how Burnett is throwing as compared to Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia.

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