Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A.J. Being Dangled? Will Anybody Bite? What Does It Mean?

(Could we be saying goodbye to A.J. Two Face?)

A story in The Post this morning discussed the Yankees' reportedly offering up A.J. Burnett to other teams and being willing to eat some of the money remaining on his contract.  There's no mention of any specific teams or trade proposals that were discussed, and no real indication that there is a market out there for A.J., so before you jump for joy realize that the odds of A.J. actually being dealt are slim to none.  But this does shed some more light on what the Yankees' plans could be to address the rotation this year.

First and foremost, I think this is a clear indication that the Yankees have given up on A.J.  The Yankees, with their constant "win now" mentality, are the type of team to take on contracts through trades if they feel it can help the team, not eat their own contracts and pay players to NOT play for them.  If the Yankees are openly stating that they are willing to pay money for A.J. to not be on their team next year, then it's a clear sign that they think they are better off without him than with him in the rotation.  That $8 million number they threw out almost certainly wouldn't be enough for other teams to take them up on the offer, but coming out and giving a number establishes a willingness on their part to talk, and that's a bad sign for A.J.

Secondly, I think this play by the Yankees shows that they are more serious about adding a pitcher through a trade this offseason than through free agency.  There is almost 0 talk right now relating to the C.J. Wilsons, Mark Buehrles, and Roy Oswalts of the world and any connection to the Yankees.  There is plenty of talk, however, regarding John Danks and Gio Gonzalez, and Cash listening to trade proposals in general.  And while the asking prices for both are incredibly steep right now, the Yankees must feel like they can negotiate a trade that is better for them and pursue that route to improve their rotation.  If they didn't, they wouldn't be looking to remove a piece from their current rotation, and eat money for that piece, to open up a spot..

Again, this will likely result in a lot of nothing.  But even from nothing can something be extracted, in this case some more clues as to what the Yanks might be looking to do to follow through on their efforts to bolster next year's rotation.

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