Update: the teams have now confirmed the trade.
While neither team has officially announced the deal, the two hurdles involved in the trade sending A.J. Burnett to the Pirates and two prospects to the Yankees have now been cleared, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman and ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Those two hurdles were Burnett’s physical, which he passed, and league approval of the deal because there was more than $1 million changing hands.
An announcement of the trade will probably come Monday. The Yankees are getting RHP Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones in return for Burnett and $20 million of the $33 million he’s owed over the next two years.
Burnett is set to pitch at or near the top of a Pirates rotation also set to include Jeff Karstens, James McDonald, Erik Bedard and Kevin Correia. The worst performer from the group will likely be shuffled off to the pen once Charlie Morton is ready to return from hip surgery.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.