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Pirates Rumors: Yankees Want Garrett Jones In A.J. Burnett Trade, But Bucs Say No

Buster Olney writes that the Yankees want Garrett Jones in a potential deal for A.J. Burnett, but that the Pirates don't want to deal Jones.

Garrett Jones is, in fact, the guy NYY want in any Burnett deal with the Pirates,but PIT not interested in moving Jones. No traction so far.

Good. Not that Jones is any great shakes, obviously, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to give up much of anything in exchange for A.J. Burnett's contract. And by making that deal, the Pirates be simply filling one hole by increasing the size of another. Yes, it's true that the Pirates have some other first-base options -- Casey McGehee, Nick Evans, Jake Fox, Matt Hague -- but you're not really sure you're getting something good with any of them. Yes, one (or more) of them could end up out-performing Jones, but Jones is still the safest bet, at least against righties. Risk avoidance shouldn't be the Pirates' primary goal, of course, but it is worth considering, to a degree, and if Evans or Fox suddenly start hitting somewhere, the Pirates will find places for them. I don't object to the Pirates trading Jones, but I'd prefer the Pirates not give up anything of value at all in exchange for Burnett when they can just agree to take on more salary instead.

With that said, I would like to see this get done somehow. Burnett isn't nearly as bad as many Yankees fans think he is. His strikeout rate suggests he still has something left in the tank. His peripherals suggest he has been unlucky recently, and he'd also be moving to a much better division. He has also been very durable in the past several years, and the Bucs' rotation can really use someone who can make 30-plus starts, because Erik Bedard and Charlie Morton aren't great bets to be healthy. In New York, Burnett is a minor annoyance, but in Pittsburgh, he'd be a source of stability.

UPDATE: I've seen Matt Morris' name bandied about recently in comparison to Burnett. Burnett isn't young, and it's certainly possible that his career could fall apart soon. But I don't think they're terribly similar situations. Morris' velocity had dipped down to the 87 MPH range by the time the Pirates acquired him, and that's problematic for a righty. His strikeout rate was also in the midst of dipping for the sixth straight season -- at the time of the trade, it was 4.83 batters per nine innings. Burnett certainly is past his prime as well, but he still struck out eight batters per nine last year, and his average fastball velocity was still around 93 MPH. Also, if the Pirates swing this right, they should be paying less per year for Burnett than they did for Morris. Burnett is a decline risk, as all older players are, but I don't think the writing is on the wall the way it was in Morris' case.

UPDATE 10:10 AM: Jon Heyman has more on this.

Word is, the Yankees at least initially asked the Pirates to pay well more than one-third of the $33 million, something closer to a 50-50 split of the financial obligation to Burnett ...

No other teams have surfaced publicly as potential suitors for Burnett as of yet.

Heyman also sent out a tweet that said the Yankees had offered to pay less than one-third of Burnett's remaining deal, but I think that was probably a typo.