TYA Roundtable: The fifth starter

With the recent acquisitions of Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees have gone from having not enough starting pitchers to having one too many starting pitchers. Now that Pineda and Kuroda will slot into the second and third starting spots, with Ivan Nova going fourth, one of A.J. Burnett, Freddy Garcia, or Phil Hughes doesn’t fit. So, what’s to be done? Click through to find out what the TYA authors think the Yankees should do?

Matt Imbrogno: It’s clear at this point that Ivan Nova deserves a starting spot. He may not have super potential, but he’s in a position to give solid innings and his use of the slider during the second half shows that there is room for growth. He’s a ground ball pitcher who’s proved durable. At this point, Phil Hughes hasn’t proved the durability or the performance consistently and A.J. Burnett has been downright awful for the last two seasons, despite providing a lot of innings. Freddy Garcia had a solid 2011, but I think some of us were waiting for the shoe to drop. But for a fifth starter, is it really that bad? Probably not. If I’m in charge, I think I go for Garcia in the last starting spot. For Burnett and Hughes, there are some choices. If Phil Hughes has options left, he could be put back in Scranton to be starting pitching depth, but I’m not sure that’s great considering he’s proved a worthwhile bullpen option. However, in the bullpen, his role would be rather reduced. He obviously wouldn’t be the closer or the set up guy or the fireman as those roles belong to Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, and David Robertson. Basically, Hughes would be the fourth best bullpen pitcher. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but is there a chance he’s worth more to the Yankees in a trade? It’s an option that should certainly be explored. Burnett is in the same boat. His stuff would most definitely play up in the bullpen as his two-pitch fastball/curveball combination would be better when not having to navigate a lineup multiple times. Again, though, he’d be the fourth option out of the bullpen, and an expensive one at that. But, his trade value is probably negative at this point. But if Derek Lowe and Carlos Zambrano were traded, maybe A.J. Burnett could be traded, too. So, my “choice”? Give the fifth starter’s spot to Freddy Garcia, then see what you can get for Burnett or Hughes and pull the trigger.

William J: Over the last two years, Phil Hughes has been given plenty of rope, and, lately, he has mostly hung himself with it. However, it would be shortsighted for the Yankees to give up on a pitcher who is only two years older than Michael Pineda, and, at one, point was even more highly touted. It’s also worth pointing out that in 2010 Hughes had the exact same ERA+ as Pineda did in 2011 as well as a similar WAR. With Freddy Garcia in the wings, the Yankees already have a plan B in case Hughes continues to flop. However, if A.J. is given the final rotation slot, both Hughes and Garcia could wither on the vine. Unless Cashman can dump Burnett, he’ll likely start the year in the rotation, but I am more optimistic the Yankees will find away to trade him. If not, his leash should be very short. This year, there will be no excuse for allowing Burnett to have another awful season.

Alex Geshwind: Ideally? Go young, young, young. That would mean Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes taking the final spots in the rotation and Freddy Garcia sticking as a long man/spot starter. Freddy’s great, but his development means nothing to this organization in the long-run and I’d rather Hughes get another shot. Realistically, though, I think Girardi trusts and likes Garcia and that Garcia will claim one of those rotation spots. This would leave either Hughes or Nova on the outside looking in, and Nova obviously has the upper-hand. Ultimately I think the Yankees are willing to move on. They have the talent in the high minors (and now at the big league level) such that trading Hughes for a good young bat would not be crippling. Sabathia, Pineda, Nova, Banuelos, and Betances is a rotation of the future and there’s plenty more were that came from. So if the right deal presents itself I would not be opposed to moving Hughes, even though I’d like him to get another shot. AJ Burnett has to go. There is simply no role for him on this team. He’s not going to claim a spot over Freddy Garcia, nor should he get preference over more promising young players. I know others have suggested a bad contract for bad contract swap but I’d rather dump as much of his salary as possible and run. The 2012-2013 free agent class will be loaded and let’s not forget Yoenis Cespedes, who might just be that young offensive monster we’re all looking for. Payroll flexibility is valuable. Let’s go get some.

Domenic Lanza: I cannot fathom a scenario in which Burnett is a Yankee come the spring … a palpable scenario, at least. Derek Lowe was moved for a fringe prospect and roughly $5 MM in savings. Carlos Zambrano was moved for a solid back of the rotation type and a bit of salary relief. This, at the very last, tells us that Burnett is movable – and not necessarily at the rate of a true sunk cost.

The real issue should be the roles of Garcia and Hughes. At this juncture, I’d prefer to see Garcia starting. While his upside is certainly limited, I believe a reasonable baseline would see him as a fine fifth starter. I don’t see much of a deviation, either, barring injury.

What of Hughes, then? I would like to see him building up arm strength in the minors. He has certainly had success at every level, but it’s worth noting that he has very few innings in the upper minutes. It’s a good venue for him to refine his curve and command, and it would allow him to step into the rotation in the event of an injury or ineffectiveness.

Brad Vietrogoski: The additions of Pineda and Kuroda should signal the end of A.J.’s time in pinstripes and I think they will. With the trades that have already been made for Derek Lowe and Carlos Zambrano, there’s clearly a market for A.J. if the Yankees are willing to eat more than the $8 million they previously said they would. And their incentive to do so is increased now that whatever they lose by not having A.J. in the rotation is made up for and then some by the innings and almost certainly better results that Pineda and Kuroda will produce. With his inability to repeat his mechanics and inconsistency of his stuff, A.J. doesn’t strike me as a viable relief option, so at this point the most value he can bring to the team is in the little bit of salary relief that comes with not having the pay the full remainder of his contract if the Yankees move him. It’s not like they haven’t already shown that they don’t have any faith in him anymore by dangling him in the Winter Meetings. Best to just cut their losses and move on.

As for the 5th spot in the rotation, I think the spot will go to Hughes. Whether or not he deserves the spot is up for debate, and how he pitches in ST will go a long way towards strengthening or weakening his case, but he’s still just 25 years old and has a higher ceiling than Freddy Garcia. And I don’t think the Yankees would send him out to API in California to get into tip top shape just to make him the 6th Inning Guy in the bullpen. They remember what he did in 2010, when he put up the same 103 OPS+ that Pineda did this past season, and if he can regain his fastball velocity and command it’s not unreasonable to expect him to come close to replicating that in 2012, even with inconsistent secondary stuff. Keep Freddy on board as the longman/6th starter to caddy to Hughes if he struggles, but definitely go with the higher-ceiling guy.

EJ Fagan: Among Burnett, Hughes, and Garcia, Freddy Garcia is clearly the best option for the last starting rotation spot. He was the only one that did anything positive in 2011, and his newly-signed contract isn’t something you can just trade. The only other option with Freddy is placing him in the bullpen, which seems misguided given his age.

Cashman should probably be working to get rid of A.J. Burnett in the least harmful way possible. The Yankees basically have two options: trade for someone else’s expensive trash, or eat a large portion of Burnett’s salary. The recent trades of Derek Lowe and Carlos Zambrano suggest that the latter option is possible, while the former depends on who is available. I think there’s an interesting Carlos Lee-for-Burnett swap possibility out there, which would give the Yankees a solid option at DH against left-handers while getting salary off the books a year early.

I don’t have a strong opinion about what to do with Phil Hughes. History suggests he could be a solid relief pitcher. He won’t be a cheap reliever at around $4 million, so trading him might be a necessity. I wouldn’t be shocked if he brings a decent B prospect in return, or even some kind of platoon DH-type. With the kind of Triple-A depth the Yankees have, I think Hughes has become expendable. Even if Freddy Garcia (or Ivan Nova) doesn’t have a lot of success in 2012, the Yankees have plenty of insurance to tap even without Hughes.

Eric Schultz: I think the Yankees need to see what they have in Hughes, and whether he can make the adjustments necessary to be a useful rotation option not just next season, but over the next few years. This may be Phil’s last chance. I don’t just want to hand him the rotation spot though, so I would be all for a competition between him and Freddy Garcia for the #5 spot, with the loser going to the bullpen as a swingman a la Noesi last season. I would look to flip Burnett to another team (if possible) while eating a bunch of salary, or perhaps taking back a bad contract that could fill the DH hole (Adam Dunn comes to mind).

Michael Eder: It looks like AJ Burnett has thrown his last pie as a Yankee. Out of the three pitchers competing for a rotation spot, he is clearly the weakest, and I expect a trade sending him to an NL West or Central team. I’ve heard suggestions about trading him for a Carlos Lee type player, one with a bad contract, but the Yankees are on a streak of acquiring young impact players. Eating a majority of AJ’s contract and placing some of their young pitchers on the trade block could give them a chance at a third baseman like Chase Headley.

Unless the Yankees draws a team with huge interest in Hughes, they will have him and Garcia compete for the fifth rotation spot in spring training, with the loser heading to the bullpen. When in shape, Hughes has shown glimpses of top of the rotation pitching and the team should look forward to seeing how his extensive training has payed off this offseason. If he fails, he’ll be a valuable piece of the bullpen and could be an interesting trade cheap. With all the potential that Hughes offers, Garcia probably draws the short stick here, and he’ll be slated in as the long reliever until one of the 5 starters is inevitably injured or loses favor. Its hard to predict how anybody will pitch in Spring Training, but I’m optimistic about Hughes as the #5 starter.

Steve S.: Obviously, the first and most preferable option is to explore trade options for Burnett. I’m as down as anyone on Phil Hughes, but I’d rather roll the dice with him as my #5 than watch another year of AJ’s pouting, declining fastball and maddening ineffectiveness. I’ve been optimistic the entire off season that a deal can be done, and the Lowe and Zambrano trades have further reinforced my position. You may be taking back a bad contract, but I’m willing to bet an NL team that’s desperate for a starter will be willing to give him a chance. It could happen soon, with teams digging through the dregs of a weak FA class. Or it may happen in Spring Training if someone loses a starter to injury. If Burnett is traded, I look for Hughes to be the #5 and Garcia to bide his time as the long man, ready if someone hits the DL.

Barring a Burnett trade, I think Hughes winds up back in the bullpen where his fastball plays up and his lack of a 3rd pitch isn’t an issue. Freddy Garcia plays the long man role for the first few months while they run AJ out there in the hope he pitches well and some team with a need bites. That’s not unreasonable, April has been AJs best month the past two years. Garcia won’t be happy about this, he’s singing for his supper at this point of his career and needs to log innings to get paid again next year. If AJ performs and nobody gets injured, I’d expect Garcia to get traded in May or June for a nominal return. But that’s the worst case scenario, I remain optimistic that Cashman will move Heaven and Earth to deal Burnett before they break camp. I would imagine he was sending out feelers before he moved forward on Pineda and Kuroda, so the ninja already knows where to strike.

24 thoughts on “TYA Roundtable: The fifth starter

  1. BrooklynPaulie

    I want Garcia to be the 5th starter. This way every member of the starting rotation will have a last name that ends with the letter “A”. That would be perfect symmetry and would surely make for some good Juju! I wonder how many times that’s happened in MLB history.

  2. Matt DiBari

    Having to watch Kyle Farnsworth for two and a half years because we couldn’t find “equal value” leaves me less confident that the Yankees front office is willing to admit a mistake and make Burnett go away any time soon.

    I hope they do. And take Hughes with him. I’m done with that too.

  3. Solely based on last year’s performance, he’d be the clear choice. But taking the long view, Hughes could be a big contributor going forward whereas Garcia is a very replaceable stopgap. Much will depend on Phil having a big camp. If he dazzles people in ST, it will be tough to keep him out of the rotation.

    But all of this hinges on Burnett being traded. If not, that screws things up dramatically.

  4. Betsy

    There’s no room for Hughes at the inn as Matt said. There’s also no time for him to redevelop any sort of trade value, so I would not be surprised to see the Yankees trade Phil for whatever they could get for him. They aren’t going to eat AJ’s contract and IMO Freddy has to start for so many reasons. One, he’s better and two, he could have had multi-year deals from other teams, but he wanted to return here. To relegate him to the pen after that would be, IMO, very small of the Yankees.

  5. Tom Swift

    Burnett should go, and both Hughes and Garcia will get plenty of starts next season. Remember that Pineda has innings issues, being so young. I imagine that he’ll get 170 innings in the regular season, plus whatever innings are available in the PS.

    • Matt DiBari

      Please, please, please don’t say that. Please don’t say “innings issues”

      Far be it for me to argue with the development plan that brought us such healthy front line rotation stalwarts as Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, but I just don’t have the energy to deal with another year of Mark Prior induced hysteria over some arbitrary “innings limit.”

    • T.O. Chris

      Considering he pitched 170 innings last year he should be in line for 190-200 innings this season. A 30 inning jump is acceptable by all standards of pitching development and since he’s in the rotation from day one I doubt he has real limits on him. Being young and prone to striking a high number of batters out he’ll probably limit himself with high pitch totals per game. I imagine he gets a full years worth of starts though with the Yankees only being mindful of the 100 pitch limit per game, not the inning totals themselves as much.

  6. bornwithpinstripes

    GARCIA #5…phil to the pen…eat half of burnouts salary trade him to brewers..eat 3mil of soriano and trade him to a team that needs a closer.he gets 14mil next year…so eat 5mil more… say so long to two very annoying players

    • T.O. Chris

      Why dump soriano for nothing? His major problems stemmed from being hurt early in the year, he wasn’t all that bad after his return. He had some memorable bad moments that skew the good. He could be a huge piece to the pen this year, especially if Mo gets hurt or Robertson regresses (which is almost surely going to happen to some degree). Whether he’s coming out in the 7th or 8th I want him on the team. I think he will have a good year and you will get nothing in a trade.

  7. bottom line

    Dump AJ. Freddie to pen. Hughes will rebound this year. If nothing else, strong early performance will make him valuable trade chip at mid-season as Yanks acquire some needed upper level position prospects.

  8. old fan

    Some observations…..

    (1)-Seven ML-proven starters–let’s savor that for few minutes before it’s gone.

    (2)-Something will happen before ST. You just can’t go into camp with 7 ML starters and 5 almost there Scranton starters and give everyone a adequate look-see, and still get the winners ready for the season. Ain’t enough innings in ST.

    (3)-Guaranteed that Cashman has a landing spot for Burnett.

    (4)-It will be a mistake to give up on Hughes right now, selling low. Someone will turn him into another Adam Kennnedy.

    (5)-So, lose AJ before ST. Keep the depth and see how everybody pitches in ST and go from there.

    (6)-Try tho avoid the mistake of sweeping out too much Starting Pitching now, and needing some later in the year–like the Red Sox did that year they traded Bronson Arroyo early, and desperately needed him later in the year. Stockpile our starters for later use.

    • YankeefanOU

      Do you mean Ian Kennedy?

  9. Tim HJ

    I also spotted that! Doubtless the rotation would be known as the ‘A’ Team…..

  10. DontChaKnow

    Joba. That is my response to that. (unlikely though).

  11. Chris

    We need to see Phil Hughes in the number five spot. Let’s face it, Kuroda and Garcia are obviously not the future of the Yankee rotation. Trading him would be a bad idea because his value is not that high. We need to see if he can live up to the hype. We don’t want to give away another Ian Kennedy.

  12. I don’t see a down side with Phil having a shot at the #5 spot. He makes it or he doesn’t make it…my bet, he makes it. Phil has the talent to be a #2 or #3 pitcher. His problems stem from injuries not lack of talent. He shouldn’t be tossed on the dump pile just yet!
    When he shows teams how he can pitch (when healthy) this spring, we can trade him for more or keep him in the rotation.

  13. T.O. Chris

    As much as I would love to see Joba start he won’t even be back pitching until June at the earliest, and he likely won’t be back until July or August. It takes close to a full year to recover from Tommy John and I doubt they rush him, especially since he’ll be the 3rd or 4th option out of the pen by that point.

  14. Outta Leftfield

    I’m in the “give Hughes another shot” camp. Hughes is only 25 and it’s too early to give up on him. When he’s been healthy he’s pitched very well. He was slowly recovering arm strength throughout the 2011 season and had a 1.84 ERA in September. He was 18-8 as recently as 2010. I would go in the 5th spot with whoever of Garcia and Hughes pitches better in ST, then adjust as the season develops.
    Remember, Mo Rivera didn’t turn into a great pitcher until he was 26. I think it would be a mistake to quit on Hughes before we know whether he can still pitch.

  15. smurfy

    Man, I can’t believe some of you would throw Phil away for a “DH/platoon” type guy. If we throw him awhile, either in the pen or as the 5th, bet we could get an extra bag of peanuts. I’d rather plan on light use for him, say 150 innings, as for Freddie, 150 strong innings. Just as well save either for the latter half.

    And, given Pineda faded in the second half, I’d limit the plan to 170 plus playoffs, looking for fresh daisies. And lo, we’re not so rotationally overpopulated at all.

    Unless they can swap AJ for Dunn, given Kevin Long thinks he can do something with the swing and the head, I’d pitch him in the 5th spot, at the start. His brightest times have been in April. (Maybe someone would bite better with the lusty month of May upon them.)

  16. After writing about this yesterday, I’ve had a night to sleep on it, and I think:

    Burnett gets traded at any cost – you guys are right on about that.

    Hughes is the long man – he’s only pitched over 100 big league innings once in his career (? – pretty sure that’s right) and he gets hurt a lot. he had his chance and now i think the yankees will give up on him

    Garcia is the fourth starter – they didn’t sign him for no reason. unless they do some unlikely trade because no one will take burnett

    Nova is the 5th starter – the yankees seem serious about developing young starters and Nova is capable.

  17. Robert

    A question on Burnett: He has a limited no-trade clause. Does anybody know how that will limit the Yankees options for dealing him?
    Also, I suspect that one way to get a team to take Burnett will be to package him with some other Yankee player(s). Thoughts?

    • T.O. Chris

      He can block a trade to 10 teams a year, though I don’t think it would play a huge roll. No team trading for him would be a bottom feeder like the Pirates, they would be most likely a team looking to compete that needed starting pitching depth. Probably a NL team needing a 3/4. Plus I think if they came to him and said we want you to take this trade he would. He doesn’t seem like he would be comfortable saying no and sticking around on a team he knows doesn’t want him at any cost.

      I would think the two most likely way AJ’s moves would be in either a swap of two terrible contracts, like AJ for Dunn (which I don’t think the Yankees would do) or AJ for Soriano/Zito (which the Yankees should be shot if they even think of doing). Or in a complete salary dump, where they pay all but 2-5 million of the remaining two years and take a low to mid level prospect in return.

      You aren’t getting a real player back in any circumstance and you aren’t getting away without paying a lot of money one way or the other. So packaging him with a player who can actually help the Yankees doesn’t make much sense in my opinion.

  18. Duh Innings

    Burnett and $7.25M for Carlos Lee is MY TRADE IDEA :)

    The Yanks take on Lee’s $18.5M for 2012 only (only $2M more than what they’d pay Burnett for 2012) and pay $7.25M towards Burnett’s $16.5M for 2013 so Burnett costs the Astros only $9.25M for 2013.

    The Astros save $2M this season (Lee’s $18.5M they’d trade – Burnett’s $16.5M they’d take on.)

    Lee costs the Yanks $18.5M + $7.25M = $25.75M total but they shed Burnett’s $33M.

    Burnett costs the Astros $16.5M + $9.25M = $25.75M total, an average of $12.875M a season, but they get something for Lee they would not get otherwise.

    Bottom line is NO ONE besides the Yanks could or would take on half or more of Lee’s $18.5M and the Astros have to get something for him. This trade is the only option the two teams have to get rid of their respective albatross contracts and the beauty of it is it’s fair: both teams pay $25.75M. The Yanks overpay for Lee, the Astros overpay for Burnett. Ideally Lee duplicates or betters his 2011 for the 2012 Yanks (18 HR, 94 RBI, 38 D, 4 T, only 60 SO in 653 PA, 10 assists, decent .275 BA and .342 OBP) and Burnett gives a team coming off a 106-loss season 400 IP across two years, a valued commodity for a team which will in all likelihood lose at least 100 games again this season. Who’s to say Burnett couldn’t be another Javier Vasquez minus returning to the Yanks i.e. (NL) starting pitcher who couldn’t hack it in the AL who goes back to the NL and has success back there?

  19. Duh Innings

    Here’s another trade idea:

    Burnett to the Cubs for Alfonso Soriano, $1.5M for 2012, the same for 2013, and all of Soriano’s $18M so Soriano costs the Yanks only $33M, what they’d pay Burnett if they kept him.

    The Cubs either pay $54M for two years of Burnett or $54M for three years of Soriano. If I were the Cubs, I pay $54M for Burnett as he’s more likely to give them 400 IP than Soriano will give them 25 or more HR and 85 or more RBI a year the next three years even though he did post 26 HR and 88 RBI last year. Plus do the Cubs really want Soriano in the field in 2013 and/or 2014? I doubt they would.

    If “Sori” was traded to the Yanks and duplicated his 2011 HR (26) and RBI (88) with say a .25X BA (realistic projection) for the 2012 Yanks, he would’ve been the perfect #8 DH for 2012 and we just hope for the realistic best for 2013 (say 18-20 HR and 75-80 RBI.) If he sucks badly enough in 2013, the Yanks could just release him during or after 2013 since the Cubs would be footing the bill for 2014.

    Let’s cast aside sentimentality. What would Damon or Matsui really bring to the table? Neither can play the field anymore and even though Soriano is no great shakes in the field, at least he can still play it. He’s not a kid anymore, but he’s still a few years younger than Damon and Matsui. He’s faster than Matsui but slower than Damon. He’s better than Jorge Vasquez. He’s a surer bet for 20 HR and 80 RBI than Jones. A-Rod will not be the full-time DH this coming season or next. All Damon can do at this point is smack 10-15 HR, maybe steal 15-20 bases, and post a .350 at best OBP. That’s nice, but he could be a potential clubhouse disruption if he barks about his quest for 3000 hits being slowed down by A-Rod et.al. getting needed DH starts/rests from the field. Do the Yanks want much less need that? No, cuz if they get him complaining, then they have to trade him or release him and if they do either, they have to trade for or sign a DH, or go internally (Vasquez or Jones.) If you start Jones at DH, then who other than Dickerson could be the #4 OF since you lose Jones’s glove, and why would you want to lose that? If you go with Jorge Vasquez you go with a career minor-leaguer who is a strikeout machine who can’t play the field. If you make A-Rod the DH, Nunez would have to be the 3B if not Laird and Nunez isn’t that great at 3B, his natural position is SS, but he’s not taking over SS anytime soon with Captain Can’t Hit Anymore (just kidding – Jeter :) at SS. Jeter’s certainly not moving to DH although that wouldn’t be a bad move from a defensive standpoint as Nunez is a better SS than him. ‘Problem with Jeter is he might not reach Matsui’s 2011 HR total (12) let alone 10 HR. Also you’d have three straight singles hitters in the 9/1/2 assuming it’s Nunez/Gardner/Jeter (8-9-1 if it’s Gardner/Nunez/Jeter or Nunez/Gardner/Jeter) and who knows for certain Martin will smack 15 or more HR again? What if Swisher goes south? Granderson reverts to pre-talk with Kevin Long form? A-Rod is out for a month or more again?

    Matsui hit only 12 HR last year healthy across a full season – he’s done. While he’d probably post the same slashline as Soriano only with better OBP, last I checked Matsui wouldn’t help the Yanks get rid of a potential and highly possible nightmare in 2012-13 Burnett.

    Soriano could either be a steal or a disaster, but ask yourself this in your heart of hearts based on what you’ve seen from Burnett the past two seasons (forget about Soriano and how this and that he’d be):

    What is Burnett’s final two years likely to be: a steal or a disaster? I say a disaster. It could come as early as the start of 2012. Burnett has got off to great starts in 2010 and 2011 right? What if he gets off to a horrendous one i.e. what if he is due to start off badly in 2012? What then? You’re moving him, a $16.5M a year starter to the pen and making him the highest paid reliever by annual salary in MLB history? No way. The highest paid mopup and swingman in MLB history? No way. We’ve been able to tolerate Burnett the past two years because he got off to good enough starts where we thought “Ah, he’ll turn it around.” Well he not only didn’t turn it around in either season, he went downhill fast both seasons. Last year’s defining moment for him was unfortunately not the one-hit hard-luck loss to the Royals, but the game where he couldn’t pitch the minimum five innings to collect the (easy) win over the Chi-Sox up 13-0 before the fifth inning rolled around. I was legitimately embarrassed for Burnett and I could only imagine how mortified he was. I felt bad for him.

    Keeping Burnett would be a friggin’ disaster because he would have to be in the rotation for how can you possibly make him a $16.5M reliever? You can’t cuz then you make him utterly untradeable as who’s taking a guy making $16.5M who can’t even win the fifth starter job in spring training? If Burnett’s in the rotation, Hughes has to go to the pen or be traded, but no way do you trade Hughes because Burnett’s making $16.5M per year through 2013.

    To conclude, the Yanks need to get rid of Burnett, and this trade (if not Burnett for Carlos Lee) is the only way out, unless anyone out there has a better trade. If Soriano is somewhere between a steal and a disaster, even if he’s closer to a disaster, he’s still better than Burnett. If he’s closer to a steal, who cares what Burnett does with the Cubs? Chances are he wouldn’t do the same with the Yanks.

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