Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Pirates acquire Burnett, pending approval

The Pirates have acquired starting pitcher A.J. Burnett from the New York Yankees, pending a physical and approval from Major League Baseball, I’ve just learned.

The trade is comprised almost entirely of cash, with the Yankees responsible for $20 million of the $33 million Burnett is due over the final two seasons of his contract. Because the Pirates agreed to take on far more of that salary than any other team, they will only have to give up two Class A prospects, neither among their best. One is hard-throwing reliever Diego Moreno. The other has not yet been identified.

Burnett likely will have his physical this weekend, then join the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., where pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report for spring training Saturday.

Because the deal involves cash, it must be approved by Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig. That is expected no later than Monday.

This is Burnett’s official page.

Moreno is a hard-throwing right-hander, at one point the hardest-throwing pitcher in the Pirates’ system, reaching up to 98 mph. That’s exceptionally hard for someone who weighs only 177 pounds, but the Pirates began souring on him last summer in large part because of that suspension in 2010. Moreno was kissing a fan in the Class AA Altoona bullpen during a game and was suspended a week for “unprofessional conduct.” In general, the team saw immaturity issues on and off the mound and, later that winter, left him exposed in the Rule 5 draft. No one claimed him.

This is Moreno’s page.

Neither of the two departing prospects rank among the Pirates’ top 30, as rated by Baseball America.

UPDATE 2:47 p.m.: The other prospect is outfielder Exicardo Cayones, I’ve confirmed.

This is Cayones’ page.

I’ve always liked Cayones, who once went 7 for 7 in a game and, at the time he was signed for $400,000, was the most expensive international bonus the Pirates had ever given out. The Yankees actually were one of his suitors, but the Pirates had the inside track. The way it’s been told to me, the Pirates gave Cayones a take-it-or-leave-it offer just before they had a good idea the Yankees would swoop in. Cayones took it.


  1. TJA says:

    As you kept telling us Dejan – “…relax, it will get done…”. Nice to be talking baseball once again.

  2. KraigK says:

    As Johnathan Mayo just Tweeted to me, Moreno wasn’t even protected in the Rule 5. So as DK said, another marginal prospect and that means little. You take a flier on Burnett for a 2 yr, $13M contract. It’s certainly worth a shot and exactly the gambles a team in this situation must make. Always a Bucco cynic, I applaud the move, even if it fails. This is an honest attempt at trying.

  3. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Nice to know that 98 MPH isn’t among the Pirate’s ‘best.’

  4. Matt says:

    Kissing a fan? That’s a new one.

  5. Jandy says:

    It wasn’t me, I swear! ;)

  6. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    All else aside, Here’s hoping Ray Searage can get the best from Burnett.

    The new season just became a bit more interesting, as did the potential starting rotation.

    Ready for some serious baseball…

  7. NMR says:

    As someone who promoted this trade from the start, I can emphatically say: meh.

  8. KraigK says:

    Not overly excited to lose Cayones but it is what it is. Good deal.

  9. jefft says:

    Amazing…we can talk about 2yr/13m as taking a flier on someone, but again, that’s about what it’s become.
    I still think this makes the rotation a good bit better…Bedard, Burnett, Morton (when he’s back), McDonald & Karstens…it’s not hideous, anyway.
    And whether or not the cynical agree, I do believe it’s an upgrade to help the team and not just a PR move to make it look that way.

  10. sanny manguillen says:

    Acquiring a player in his mid-thirties is like playing Russian roulette. Acquiring Barajas, Barmes, Bedard and Burnett in the same off-season is like playing Russian roulette with four loaded chambers.

  11. JAL says:

    You can’t get something for nothing. They gave up to low minor league prospects and a major league pitcher. The prospects may develop but both advanced a level and then were sent back. Moreno is approaching 26 and has barely pitched in AA. Cayones is younger but was badly overmatched in low A and was sent back to GCL. Not like they are two can’t miss prospects.

  12. bdubb says:

    I like it. Now let’s give Lincoln a shot and move Corriea somewhere. Burnett should have some success in this pitiful division. At least this 35+ year old looks like he still has some life in him…unlike many of the past acquisitions. And at worst, AJ pitches well this year and we trade him in July for a decent prospect

  13. JAL says:


    Bedard is not in his mid 30’s, will turn 33 this season. 33 is the upper end of most experts say are the prime years. His injury record more concerning than his age. Same with Barmes, just turning 33.

  14. Josh says:

    A huge Yankee friend of mine tells me the pitching coach is the most critical part… AJ needs help focusing and that he has done well when he gets along with the pitching coach. Good luck, Ray. He also said the catcher made a difference… he refused to have Posada catch for him in certain games. I’m glad we have Barajas, who we know has caught AJ before in Toronto.

  15. Drew71 says:

    Dejan – any ‘realistic’ chance that Bud rejects the trade?

  16. CWalton_67 says:

    A dude who tries 98 mph heat kissing a fan in the bullpen? Only our beloved Buccos…

  17. Patrick says:

    Sanny, that is one of the strangest and most strained metaphors I’ve seen in a long time.

  18. Piglegs Robinson says:

    Oh dear God! They gave up Diego Moreno and Somebody’s Cahones!
    It’s the end of the Pirates for sure! See? Just like all the pessimists said!
    Ughhhh! it’s such a terrible trade!


  19. Piglegs Robinson says:

    On a serious note, DK, do you know who might come off the 40-man for Burnett?
    I hope its Nunez, the rule 5 guy since he probably wont make the team anyway, and nothing is lost.

  20. JoeBucco says:

    Time for some Ray Searage magic. #LetsGoBucs!

  21. JoeBucco says:

    Moreno kissing a fan in the bullpen… That’s got nothing on Josh Hamilton and what he did with a “fan” in the bathroom the night of his “relapse”. #JustSayin

  22. Blaine says:

    I’ve been burned too often as a fan to believe, so I’ll say that this is…in no way…an attempt to make “this” team better.

    If AJ puts up anywhere near the number the number Dejan predicts, he’s gone at the trade deadline for a couple of upper level prospects and all the Pirates invested was 2.5 million and a couple of minor leaguers that were, most likely, never going to contribute.

  23. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Glad the deal got done….I believe this is an upgrade to the rotation. Just depends on which AJ shows up.

    At least he was willing to come to Pittsburgh. Let’s hope this is the start of other FA’s coming, when they need them.

    Still would rather have Oswalt, but can’t sign those don’t want to be signed.

  24. PgherinLev says:

    A “Like” to Piglegs for Comment 17!

  25. Eric Bowser says:

    Love the deal.

    I like the makeup of this 5-man rotation: Burnett, Bedard, Morton, Karstens, McDonald

  26. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Morton will be out for the 1st month…….Hope he gets fully healed and can contribute this season.

    Burnett, Bedard, McDonald, Karstens, Correia?

    Or swap Correia and JMac?

  27. Piglegs Robinson says:

    They say Morton might not be out so long.

    It’s been mentioned by a few insiders that Chris Leroux could take Morton’s spot.
    He pitched well as a staarter this winter, and also in the past in the minors. He has a high strikeout rate as a starter.

    I wish the Bucs would bring back the retiring Tim Wakefield to pitch in relief for a month and make a spot start. He began in Pgh. After beginning to pitch late in his career, he still became a 200 game winner. Originally an outfielder-first baseman, he could hit very well for a pitcher. Too bad he was in the AL all these years, or he would have had a lot of home runs for a pitcher.
    Maybe they can put HIM at first base.

  28. JAL says:

    Also, because of the schedule they don’t need a 5th starter first two weeks of the season.

  29. PetroSteel says:

    It is sooo great to hear (read) optimism from the bloggers above. I love the deal!!! He still has great stuff! I’m sure you guys/gals have read about his history with our new catcher. That is big! This guy has pitched in the World Series and won! Are you kidding me!!! I’m ecstatic. I don’t think for one second that I am crazy by saying that we can win this bad division this year!!!

    Great Job Neal, Frank and Bob!!! Thats for trying to make our Buccos better. Wow! It’s been too long.

  30. scapper says:

    I’ll say it again….the level of attention this is getting is ludicrous. I love the Bucs and I’ll go see them when they come here to the DC area and I’ll schlep on up to Baltimore in June to see them, but wow, settle down everyone.

    And not to pile on the negativity, but did anyone see Sid’s quote today about the headaches not being as bad? Man, that was so depressing. I said in December that we won’t see him again this season. Hope I’m wrong wrong wrong, but…

    Looking forward to the trip to tomorrow’s game in Philly, but games there aren’t the same without the locals screaming “Croz-bee sux!” as he puts up another 3-point game.

  31. JuniataKid says:

    The guy is 35, coming off of a 5+ ERA (granted, in a bandbox), leaving a World Series contender for a team with absolutely no chance of winning a World Series, and backed up by an abysmal offense that the front office has done absolutely NOTHING to improve this off-season. Nothing. Zip. What is all of the optimism based on here? I don’t get it. Maybe it turns out to be a good deal, but I sure don’t see how.

    And they gave up a 20 year old prospect in the process.

    But let’s say he does fairly well. Even if he puts up a 4 ERA, it won’t do a speck of good. THEY HAVE NO OFFENSE. WHERE IS THE TRADE FOR SOME OFFENSE?

  32. Piglegs Robinson says:

    Fans who follow all of baseball regularly and closely know that Burnett is fun to watch and that he does what the rest of the staff doesn’t do, namely pitch in 32+ starts, Close to 200 innings, easily pitch pat the 6th inning, and keep the team in the game till the end.

    The bullpen has to be breathing a sigh of relief with this move. I also like that he can show the rest of the starters how to eat innings and actually GET past the 6th inning on a regular basis. Leading by example is great way to teach. It can rub off.

  33. Piglegs Robinson says:

    They do need more hitting. If nothing else, they at least need another good hitting bench hitter, someone who has real power and hits around .290. A guy like that to come off the bench would really be a difference maker.

  34. John Lease says:

    They gave up nothing, so it’s a plus. Not a HUGE plus, but a plus. I can’t wait for the tatoo tie ins coming to PNC this summer.

Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports
News: This Just In | Trib List | ICycle | Flow Back | Stories Behind Trib Stories  

» Top Sports
» Top News
» Top Breaking News