A.J. Burnett has not yet officially been traded from the New York Yankees to the Pittsburgh Pirates, but everybody's acting like he has. Because he basically has. All that's left is a physical he's not going to fail and getting approval from a commissioner who's going to give his approval. A.J. Burnett is essentially a Pirate now, with the difference between today and, say, Monday being that come Monday he'll have a Pirates uniform.
Over at SI, Joe Lemire talks about the trade in an article titled "Yanks simply had to unload Burnett." His perspective is that the Yankees simply had to unload A.J. Burnett. I don't even know why he bothered writing an article. It's all right there at the top!
In truth, Lemire has a lot to say, including stuff about the Yankees' motivation to move Burnett, the Pirates' motivation to get Burnett, and Burnett's Yankees legacy. A sample:
This trade, therefore, is a creative, albeit risky, solution to that predicament of finding a high-upside starting pitcher within the parameters of their budget. Pittsburgh is effectively acquiring a pitcher from the outlet store -- that he's not in mint condition makes him affordable.
It's a similar concept to the Athletics' signing of Cuban outfielder Yoenis Céspedes; Oakland couldn't afford a premium power hitter on the open market but it can pay mid-range dollars for one who has the tools to be a big slugger but doesn't have the experience that proves he'll be sure investment. Burnett might be a comparatively safer bet -- slightly -- because he does have a track record of success, even if he is now 35 and a few years removed from his peak.