As the Pittsburgh Pirates emerge as a leading candidate to trade for New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett, the Yankees are making clear that they will not trade the veteran right-hand pitcher simply for salary relief.
After three years of wildly inconsistent pitching in the Bronx, Burnett finds himself on the trading block as the Yankees continue to upgrade their starting rotation. Back in January, the Yankees signed free-agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, limiting the team's finances for the remainder of the offseason. Burnett is owed $16.5 million over each of the next two seasons.
However, according to The Star-Ledger's Marc Carig, the Yankees won't trade Burnett without getting players in return.
Indeed, the Yankees are willing to absorb a large portion of Burnett's $33 million contract if it means they can ship the expendable right-hander to the Pirates. However, the Yankees refuse to move Burnett unless they receive players back in the deal, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations, who requested anonymity because talks are ongoing.
"(The Yankees) have to get players back," the person with knowledge said on Sunday. "Not a give away."
Additionally, Carig reports the Yankees and Pirates are continuing to evaluate which players could be included in a trade. Also up for negotiation is exactly how much of Burnett's contract New York will absorb.
The teams intend to keep working on a deal, the person with knowledge said, though it does not appear that a trade is imminent. The Yankees are talking with three other clubs about Burnett, according to multiple published reports, though the Pirates appear to be the frontrunners.