NEW YORK, NY: A.J. Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees reacts after striking out Vernon Wells #10 the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (not pictured) for the third out at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
So did you hear the one about the baseball team with the player they desperately wanted to release, but were too embarrassed to do it?
Sorry. Not specific enough. Could be the Cubs. Could be the Angels. Could be the Red Sox. Could be the Giants. Could be the Mets. Could be the Mariners. Could be a lot of teams. But this joke's about the New York Yankees and pitcher A.J. Burnett.
From The New York Post:
According to multiple teams, the Yankees have let it be known they will listen to offers for Burnett and are willing to pay $8 million of the $33 million Burnett is owed over the next two seasons.
"We will listen on anybody,'' GM Brian Cashman said without getting specific.
Even with the Yankees swallowing about a quarter of Burnett's contract, they haven't gotten a nibble. First, Burnett, who will be 35 in January, would still be owed $12.5 million this coming season and next. Secondly, Burnett hasn't pitched well (21-26) the past two seasons and has suffered a dip in velocity.
There's no way in hell some other team is going to spend $12.5 million per season on Burnett. Maybe $12.5 million for both seasons of A.J. Burnett would make sense for some teams. That's not bad for a No. 4 or 5 starter who figures to give you 180 innings. And it's certainly possible that Burnett will benefit from a change of scenery. But if the Yankees are willing to pay only $8 million of Burnett's remaining salary, they're also going to have to pay in prospects.
Which doesn't seem likely. If the Yankees want A.J. Burnett out of their rotation, they're probably going to have to send him to the bullpen. While paying him another $33 million.