The Yankees and Pirates are still talking about A.J. Burnett

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The Pirates apparently nixed a proposed A.J. Burnett-for-Garrett Jones deal, but Heyman reports that the sides are still talking and that it’s more along the lines of salary dumpage now.  Specifically, they’re “a few million apart” on a deal that would basically send Burnett to Pittsburgh in exchange for salary relief.

And — setting aside how odd it is to be hearing the Yankees in need of salary relief — what would the Yankees do with the dollars saved on Burnett?  Likely sign Eric Chavez for another year of his backup infield duty and then sign the other half of a DH platoon, likely in the form of Raul Ibanez.

No one sounds crazy optimistic that this will happen, but I’m struggling to think of the last time the Yankees were reported to be trying to do a deal and didn’t accomplish it.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”