Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/10/14

The New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates are talking about New York sending embattled starter AJ Burnett to the Pirates. The key hangup is salary, as Burnett is due $33 million over the next two seasons. The Yankees are looking to split the salary evenly, but the last report from Pittsburgh indicates that the Pirates are willing to eat about $11 million of Burnett's contract. But the big question here is, "does Burnett fit well with Pittsburgh?"

Here's the thing about AJ Burnett: despite what Jon Heyman may incessantly tweet, Burnett hasn't been that bad as a Yankee. He just hasn't lived up to lofty expectations set for him that were probably a little too high. Burnett is the antithesis of a contract year pitcher. In 2005, his final year with the Florida Marlins, Burnett had a 3.11 FIP and was worth 5.1 fWAR. He signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, and in 2006, his FIP rose to 3.79, and he threw 70 fewer innings en route to a 3.2 fWAR season. In 2008 with the Blue Jays, Burnett's final year with them before an opt-out clause would allow him to get the hell out of Canada, he threw a career high 221 1/3 innings, racked up a 3.45 FIP, and was worth a career-high 5.5 fWAR. In his three years as a Yankee, Burnett's FIP hasn't been below 4.33, and he's been worth a total of 6.4 fWAR.

But switching back to the National League, especially the NL Central, would have a huge effect on Burnett's stats in a positive way. The 35 year-old would be going from the AL East, where he had to face three above average offenses and one below average offense over the past three years, to the NL Central, which features just two above average offenses and three below average offenses. Oh, and those two above average offenses each lost their star first baseman this offseason, so who knows if they'll even be above average in 2012.

Another positive for Burnett is leaving Yankee Stadium. Despite Burnett's relative success at the park (which is generally true for any pitcher at home), he still wasn't too good. Since opening, Yankee Stadium has a 108 park effect for pitchers since opening, which is dramatically favors hitters. His potential new home, PNC Park, is at 100 over the last three seasons, which is neutral. A shift in home parks would drastically help Burnett.

And finally, why would the Pirates even want Burnett? Look at their current rotation: Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Erik Bedard, Jeff Karstens. That is absolutely not a murderer's row by any stretch of the imagination and the presence of Burnett, a veteran who could potentially outshine everyone in their current rotation, would help out a ton. He's started at least 30 games in four years running, a mark that only McDonald hit last season for the Pirates. No one on the Pirates staff threw 175 innings, which Burnett has also done in each of the last four seasons. 

At worst, Burnett would be an expensive replacement for the recently-departed Paul Maholm. The Pirates only have $34.8 million committed to payroll right now, a year after being at $42 million. Depending how much of Burnett's contract the Yankees pick up, Pittsburgh might be able to slide him right in without having to do anything at all with their current budget. And who knows, maybe if he's effective over the first three months of the season in his new home, the Pirates can deal him in July to a contender.

[follow]

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao close to deal for fight

TJ Lang: Suh wanted to fight me after stepping on Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Hernandez jurors allowed to watch Super Bowl

Tiger misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate during presser

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rex Ryan: Seahawks need to ‘take the air out of the football’

J.J. Watt buys cabin in the middle of nowhere to train

Six teams have done background work on Peterson

NBA set to earn $700M through streaming deal in China

Wade Phillips is the best coordinator hire this offseason

Bill Belichick gives understated scouting report of Tom Brady

WATCH: Jimmy Butler throws down half-court alley-oop

President Obama zings Patriots over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's Player Of The Year candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots-Seahawks

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Most unexpected MLB free agent signings of past 10 years

Five most villainous Super Bowls of all time

Super Bowl ad focuses on acceptance of gay athletes

Foster says UT boosters paid him $40-50K while in college

Ranking the repeat Super Bowl champions

Eric Decker to Sherman: Time your conception a little better

Could Katy Perry and Russell Wilson be dating?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Obama zings Pats over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's POY candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots vs. Seahawks

The 13 things we want to see in Super Bowl XLIX

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Tiger Woods, misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Ranking the repeat SB champions

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate

Katy Perry, Russell Wilson dating?

Rex Ryan has advice for Seahawks

Super Bowl: Things you can't control

LeBron and the Cavs are ready to make a run

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.