Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 2/11/12

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

Here are your 2015 All-Star reserves and pitchers

Are LeBron, Cavs just playing teenage games?

Bucks president threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

ESPYs golf classic moving from Trump course

Report: Pierre-Paul could miss training camp, start of season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Spurs sign David West

Report: Marc Gasol signs five-year deal with Grizzlies

Manu Ginobili announces he will return next season

Robinson Cano dealing with stomach ailment all season

Tony Romo on Dez Bryant's contract: 'I think it will work out'

Dwayne Bowe: I’m here to fill Josh Gordon’s shoes

Mo Williams is back with the Cleveland Cavaliers

Carli Lloyd had vision she would score four goals in World Cup Final

Carli Lloyd needs help to carry all her World Cup awards

Russell Wilson abstaining from sex with girlfriend Ciara

Coach K on meeting Beyonce for first time: 'I felt like 13'

Three-star TE Michael Irvin Jr. commits to Miami

Bryce Harper skipping HR Derby because of dad's injury

Braves the most interesting team to watch at the deadline?

Video shows FSU QB De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Is James Harden dating Khloe Kardashian?

Odell Beckham Jr. poses for nude version of 'The Catch'

Dwyane Wade: I'll retire 'when I can no longer play'

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

The 2015 All-Star reserves & pitchers

Are LeBron, Cavs just playing teenage games?

Bucks threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

Bryce Harper to skip Home Run Derby

Video shows De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Odell Beckham Jr. poses for nude version of 'The Catch'

Report: Giants pull offer to Pierre-Paul

Report: Jordan was tired of Chris Paul

2015 All-Star starters announced

JPP injured in fireworks mishap?

Odell Beckham doesn't want to be known for 'the catch'

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

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.