It looks like the A.J. Burnett saga may finally be coming to a close, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Yankees and Pirates are “in agreement” on a deal that will send the right-hander to Pittsburgh.
Burnett is expected to undergo a physical exam Sunday to make things official and according to Rosenthal the Yankees are eating about $20 million of the $33 million remaining on his contract over the next two seasons.
In return New York will receive a pair of minor leaguers, neither of whom are expected to be significant prospects, but by trading Burnett the Yankees save $13 million and open up a rotation spot for Freddy Garcia or Phil Hughes.
Burnett, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with New York in 2009, had a 4.79 ERA in 98 starts for the Yankees after posting a 3.73 ERA in 131 starts for the Marlins and a 3.94 ERA in 80 starts for the Blue Jays.
UPDATE: Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that the two prospects going to the Yankees are 25-year-old reliever Diego Moreno and 20-year-old outfielder Exicardo Cayones, neither of whom are considered more than marginal prospects.
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).
Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.
Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.
Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.