A.J. Burnett turned down trade to Angels for Bobby Abreu

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While the A.J. Burnett trade talks between the Yankees and Pirates keep chugging along Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News reports that the Yankees had a deal in place to send him to the Angels for Bobby Abreu … but Burnett used his no-trade clause to block the move.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier this week that the Yankees and Indians talked about a Burnett-for-Travis Hafner swap at some point, so New York being interested in Abreu as a different veteran designated hitter option makes some sense.

Abreu is part of the Angels’ logjam of bats and is due $9 million this season (compared to $16.5 million over the next two seasons for Burnett). His production has declined significantly in his late-30s, but he still drew plenty of walks, got on base at a .353 clip, and stole 21 bases last year. It’s a moot point, however, as the Angels are one of 10 teams to which Burnett can veto a trade and various reports suggest he’ll wind up on the Pirates.

As for why a player would block a deal to the Angels but not the Pirates, Burnett’s wife is from Maryland and has a fear of flying.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.