Pirates - Acquire Burnett
Pittsburgh Pirates acquire P A. J. Burnett for outfielder Exicardo Cayones, pitcher Diego Moreno and $20 million in cash ($11.5 million in 2012 and $8.5 million in 2013)
All in all a pretty reasonable deal for both sides. The Yankees free up a roster spot, add a couple of middle grade suspects and make those last few additions to the roster a little more cost effective. It’s been reported in terms of giving the Yankees financial flexibility. That’s only true if they were dealing with an absolutely fixed budget. Color me doubtful that this is the case. They would in effect have to pay a premium for some marginal talents had they not made this deal. In other words it’s a nice side effect of the deal to my mind.
From the Pirates point of view, if Burnett stays at the level he’s been at for the last couple of years they get an inning eating mediocrity at something close to the going rate (from the Pirates point of view this is a 2 year, $13 million deal. More than I’d expect Burnett to command on the open market, but not by any great margin) in exchange for two guys who didn’t rate to be an important part of the team going forward. The big part of the deal though is that nobody would be at all surprised if Burnett was a fair bit better than mediocre. His results have never matched the general perception of his level of talent, and while he’s clearly slipping his stuff is still pretty good when he puts it all together (it just doesn’t happen often enough)
I called both of the players the Yankees get middle grade suspects. Both are seriously odds against ever playing regularly in the majors, but in both cases you can see how they could make it. Cayones is a young outfielder with good plate discipline. He has to seriously improve what he does when he actually tries to put the ball in play—he’s shown little power and the average just isn’t good enough. Still as one philosopher has noted, OBP is life. And Cayones has a chance to be a pesky OBP guy. Just not a good chance. For one thing, his only true strength is his walk rate and that doesn’t translate all that reliably from the minors to the majors.
Moreno—while it’s almost true that there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect, it’s almost equally true that no young pitcher can be truly written off (provided his arm is still sound). He’s now 25. He hasn’t mastered AA, but has clearly established that he’s wasting his time in A ball. In his limited time at AA his walk rate has been pretty good as has his strikeout rate. He’s just given up a lot of hits on balls in play. I would expect his walk rate to worsen as he moves forward and his strikeout rate to drop. In other words, I see has stuff as marginal to get a shot at the tail end of a major league bullpen. But pitchers with worse minor league records than him have gone on to some success.
I’d give long odds on him ever pitching for the Yankees (except perhaps garbage time in September) with some chance of being a sweetener in another deal down the road.
Posted: February 20, 2012 at 08:51 AM | 10 comment(s)
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