UPDATE: The talks are dead.
1:31 PM: This is interesting. Jon Heyman is reporting that while there is still optimism that the Yankees will trade A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh, the Angels and Indians have “checked in.”
The Angels are probably a non-starter because they are one of the teams named in Burnett’s limited no-trade clause — he wants to stay in the eastern part of the continent — but the Indians are intriguing. Mostly because of what Heyman says the clubs are talking about in a potential deal: the Indians shipping Travis Hafner to New York.
Now, Heyman says that the Indians are unsure they’d do such a deal — more on that below — but it certainly would be interesting from the Yankees perspective. Hafner is a much better option for the DH slot than some of the other names being floated (Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon). If they could snag Hafner, it would be a pretty big coup.
I can see why the Indians would balk, though. Apart from Hafner being better at he does than Burnett is at what he does, Hafner is only owned $15.75 million total by Cleveland, what with this year’s salary and the buyout of next year’s option. Burnett is owed $33 million. So, unless the Yankees were pitching in more money — which they’ve said they don’t want to do — Cleveland’s financial obligations would increase by a couple of million bucks, and they’d get the worse player in the deal.
So, yeah, don’t hold your breath, Yankees fans.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.