As I was getting ready to leave for a Friday evening of work, I heard a welcoming sound.
It wasn’t my mother telling me to hurry up and not forget my lunch — it was the glorious horns of Baseball Tonight on ESPN.
I was shocked too.
For the past few days, rumblings have been that A.J. Burnett was being swapped for the Pirates’ Garrett Jones. Well, as of yesterday, Pittsburgh seemed to pull the plug on that deal. But work truly isn’t done yet.
Stark said that there is mutual interest on both ends of sending Burnett to the Bucs. The Yankees appear to be desperate to let go of the pitcher who went 11-11 last year with a 5.15 ERA. Still, they’re not going to let him go for free.
The Pirates have a host of prospects who may be on the block that would work well in this deal. 1B Matt Hague is said to be Major League ready, or, if New York wants a pitcher — the Pirates have Tim Alderson or Bryan Morris that would be well worth the Yankees’ interest.
But with two polar opposite teams like the Pirates and the Yankees, money is the motive.
The driving factor for the Pirates would be for the Yankees to eat as much of Burnett’s contract as possible. He is owed $33 million over the rest of his contract — Pittsburgh doesn’t want to pay over $10 million of that.
After the Pirates failed to lure Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt to PNC Park, it may have been figured that they were done with their pursuit of a pitcher.
That’s not the case.
Stark also commented that if the Burnett deal does fail — or even in addition to it if it does go down — Pittsburgh has its sights set on a pair of other well-known pitchers.
He first mentioned Joe Blanton.
Secondly, Stark brought up John Lannan.
Lannan is 27 years old and has been floated around ever since Jackson decided to play with the Nationals, next year. He’s a solid lefty who has been with the Expos/Nats organization for his entire career. He’s an innings eater, which is something else Stark said the Pirates are interested in.
All of these developments have been pretty encouraging news for Pirate fans. The team needs a starter, desperately, to strengthen and solidify a shaky rotation. All three will certainly not be coming to Pittsburgh. One might, two might. Either way — any of them are upgrades.
However, it’s easy to get caught up in what could be. Hearing news that West Virginia was for sure heading to the SEC rocked my world a few months ago. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen yet the Mountaineers will be in good hands with the Big 12.
The same could happen here.
It’s nice to be graced with a positive sighting and that’s what this Friday afternoon held for the Bucco faithful. It may not be an SEC_like destination, but if two of theses solid starters are nabbed:
it’ll be a Big12 landing for the Pirates.
Photo Credits: yankeeanalysts.com, thebiglead.com, espn.com