Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/10/14

It’s about time.

Although it’s only been a little more than a week since the A.J. Burnett coverage started, it feels like it has just gone on and on. Especially in this dead time of baseball news — Brett Tomko signed with the Reds? Ooh! — the movement of any significant player can draw the full attention of baseball obsessives. Thankfully, the Yankees and Pirates finally pulled the trigger Friday. The Yankees will eat a little over half of Burnett’s remaining contract, and in return the Pirates will receive two prospects: right-handed reliever Diego Moreno and outfielder and Name of the Year candidate Exicardo Coyones.

The big news for the Yankees lies not in the prospects but in the money they will be saving by not allowing A.J. Burnett to pitch for them. The Pirates agreed to pay Burnett $5 million in 2012 and $8.5 million in 2013 out of a yearly total of $16.5 million. Given the Yankees’ cash flow, it may have been worth it to keep Burnett prior to the Yankees acquisitions of Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda. But with those two in place and not much difference between Burnett and Freddy Garcia as the fifth starter, it made sense to unload Burnett for some flexibility over the next two seasons even if the prospect haul was minimal.

And minimal this prospect haul is. Moreno has potential as a reliever, showing big strikeout numbers at multiple levels (including 45 in 44.1 innings between High-A and Double-A in 2011). However, considering his age — Moreno turns 26 in July — he should be dominating hitters at those levels. Coyones is a very raw 20-year-old outfielder who has taken just 37 plate appearances beyond rookie ball. Although he hit for a decent average and on-base percentage in his 73 games at that level, he showed no discernible power, putting up a slash line of .272/.372/.380. He has yet to hit a home run in American professional baseball.

So yes, it’s about the money. The $5 million the Yankees save this year could give some flexibility for a trade at the deadline, and the $8.5 million next year is the real prize. Meanwhile, the Pirates get a reclamation project in Burnett who should at the least give them some innings — he’s thrown at least 180 innings each of the last four seasons. If the Pirates show enough improvement to contend for a division title in 2013 — an unlikely but possible scenario — Burnett could serve as a mid-rotation pitcher for that team. If not, the Pirates can hope he regains enough of his own form to serve as a trade chip.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dolphins teammate on Dion Jordan: It’s a bad situation

Texans reportedly the favorite to be featured on ‘Hard Knocks’

Report: Goodell will not recuse himself from Brady appeal

Will Smith suspended eight games for 'foreign substance'

Report: Kobe Bryant likely to retire following next season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Don Shula named in painkiller lawsuit from former NFL players

Kyrie Irving questionable for Game 2 versus Atlanta

Michael Sam signs with CFL’s Montreal Alouettes

Ex-A&M quarterback Kenny Hill transferring to TCU

Michael Bennett compares Pete Carroll to Willy Wonka

Jim Kelly: There is no doubt Tom Brady cheated

The Los Angeles Angels are finally finding their groove

Re-evaluating all 30 MLB teams at the quarter mark, ranked

Is virtual reality training the next leap forward for football?

Warriors a very shaky 2-0 against the Rockets

NFL icon Bud Grant zings Pats with Deflategate joke on Twitter

RG3 announces birth daughter's birth on social media

Don't listen to Nick Saban, the bowl system is just fine

MLB scores partial victory in minor league wage lawsuits

Ranking the NBA Playoffs' most significant injuries

WATCH: Will Smith ejected for foreign substance on arm

Guy behind NFL's social media trolling of Pats is a Jets fan?

In defense of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie

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

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Here come the Giants

Aaron Hernandez got new tattoo in prison

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ten players who could benefit due to PAT rule change

Five QBs set for breakout campaigns

Report: Lakers will pursue Thibodeau

MLS leaders struggling with attendance

LBS: I was a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!

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.