Tagged: Dan Haren

Burnett Nixing Deal For Abreu Benefits Yankees

If A.J. Burnett does nothing more for the New York Yankees as a pitcher he did them a major favor off the field this week.

The Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels had worked a trade of the 35-year-old right-hander to the Angels in exchange for former Yankee outfielder Bobby Abreu.

However, as part of Burnett’s five-year contract with the Yankees, Burnett had the right to block a trade to up to 10 major-league teams. The Angels so happen to be one of those teams and he rejected the trade.

For the Yankees’ sake, I am very happy that A.J. rejected that swap. Abreu, who will turn 38 in March, is on a fast downward escalator in his career. A career .293 hitter, Abreu hit .255 in 2010 and a career low of .253 in 2011 with only eight home runs and 60 RBIs in 142 games.

Abreu is available because the Angels’ outfield is filled with left-fielder Vernon Wells, center-fielder Peter Bourjos and right-fielder Torii Hunter and, with the signing of free-agent first baseman Albert Pujols, the Angels already have a logjam at designated hitter between former starting first baseman Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo, who hit 29 home runs as a rookie first baseman last season.

The Angels were seeking Burnett as a No. 5 starter behind ace right-hander Jared Weaver, free-agent lefty C.J. Wilson and right-handers Dan Haren and Ervin Santana.

Abreu is owed $9 million in the final year of his contract and Burnett is owed $33 million over the final two seasons of his contract. It is unclear how much of Burnett’s salary the Yankees were willing to pay. A source did say it was a “considerable portion” and the Angels would not have been obligated to pay Burnett anything until the 2013 season.

Abreu likely would have assumed a platoon left-handed-hitting DH role with the Yankees in a tandem with the righty-swinging Andruw Jones. The Yankees would then have some money left over to re-sign backup infielder Eric Chavez to complete the 2012 roster. The Angels would get a No. 5 starter and be rid of an expensive bench player without adding money to the 2012 payroll.

Reports indicate that Burnett rejected the trade because his wife does not like flying to attend Bunrett’s games. That is the reason Burnett listed all of the West Coast teams on his 10-team no-trade list. The same reports indicate that the Yankees are still trying to pursue a trade for Burnett with the Pittaburgh Pirates.

So far the Yankees have struck out on deals for Burnett that included 30-year-old first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones of the Pirates, 34-year-old first baseman/DH Travis Hafner and now Abreu. However, if they agree on a deal with the Pirates to unload a portion of Burnett’s salary and the Yankees can get a few young prospects from the Pirates in return for Burnett they likely would have enough money to sign a free-agent DH this weekend and work out a deal with Chavez.

The Yankees are looking to add former Phillie outfielder Raul Ibanez, who said he would be willing to accept less money in order to play with the Yankees. The team also possibly could sign two members of the Yankees’ 2009 world championship club in Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. Right-handed-hitting DH Vladimir Guerrero also expressed an interest in playing with the Yankess but the team is strictly looking at signing a left-handed hitter.

Let’s face reality here. The Yankees would be better off with a combination of either Ibanez and Chavez or Damon and Chavez than Abreu and Chavez. That is the reason the Yankees should actually thank Burnett for nixing the deal and exercising his no-trade rights. It now actually forces the Yankees into trying again with the Pirates.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and his Pirates counterpart Neal Huntington have spent so much time talking with each other this week they may end up picking out china patterns. The Pirates remain confident a deal can be reached, but the Yankees have told the Pirates they would like the deal completed before Burnett is required to report to the spring training in Tampa, FL, on Sunday.

The two teams are trying to come to agreement on how much money the Pirates will pay towards Burnett’s contract and what prospects the Pirates would be willing to trade.

STAY TUNED

 

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A-Rod Powers Pettitte To No. 10 As Yanks Pound D-Backs

GAME 71
YANKEES 9, DIAMONDBACKS 3

Andy Pettitte’s last memory of Chase Field was the 15-2 pounding he took in Game 6 of the 2001 World Series. But in one tough seven-inning performance, Pettitte wiped that bad memory away.

Pettitte (10-2) gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks and fanned seven batters en route to his 10th victory of the season as the New York Yankees pounded the Diamondbacks with six eighth-inning runs to beat Arizona 9-3 on Tuesday night.

Alex Rodriguez provided most of the early offense with a two-run home run in the first inning and two-out RBI single in the third inning off losing pitcher Dan Haren (7-6) to put the Yankees ahead for good.

Rodriguez’s home run, the 10th of the season and 592nd of his career, was his first home run since June 3 at home against Baltimore, a stretch of 17 games and 51 at-bats.

With the victory, the Yankees improved their season record to 44-27 and, by virtue of losses by both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays, they extended their lead in the American League East to 1 1/2 games. The Diamondbacks, in last place in the National League West, dropped to 28-44.

YANKEE POSITIVES

  • The soreness in Rodriguez’s left hip has certainly hampered the All-Star third baseman but he is starting to show signs of coming around at the plate. His 2-for-3 night raised his average back to .281 and he is second on the team with 48 RBIs.
  • Pettitte only had trouble pitching to Haren, who was 2-for-2 off Pettitte, including a two-out two-run single in the second inning that tied the score at 2-2. Haren came into the game batting .425. Throw out Haren’s singles and Pettitte would have ended up pitching five-hit shutout baseball over seven innings.
  • Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira helped spark the 12-hit attack with a pair of singles each. Jeter scored two runs and Teixeira scored a run and drove in a run. 
  • Nick Swisher again showed signs he is not the same guy who hit .249 last season. He was 2-for-5 with a double and scored two runs. He is now batting .298 on the season.
  • Colin Curtis, an Arizona State product, came through with his first major-league hit and RBI in his second plate appearance. He hit a two-out, two-run pinch-hit double in the eighth inning off former Diamondbacks closer Chad Qualls to make it 9-2.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Brett Gardner was 0-for-3 with a walk and struck out twice. He looked overmatched at the plate against Haren in particular. He struck out in his first two at-bats, once looking and once swinging on a pitch inside that landed in the dirt. Gardner was 4-for-4 on Monday night.
  • Pettitte was frustrated by two-out hits all evening. Of the Diamondbacks seven hits and two walks off him, four hits and both walks came with two out.
  • Gardner also was embarrassed in his one time he reached base. With Pettitte at the plate and one out in the seventh inning, Gardner attempted to steal second as Pettitte faked a bunt and swung and missed on strike three. Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder gunned down Gardner at second base. It was only the fifth time Gardner had been caught stealing this season in 28 attempts (82%).
  • I do not criticize Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada here to single them out. I only mention this to illustrate how good-hitting teams can lose games by not thinking. Haren entered the sixth inning with a pitch count of 83. The Yankees needed to get his pitch count to 100 quickly to get him out of a 3-2 game. After Rodriguez struck out on five pitches, Cano and Posada swung and flied out on first pitches leaving Haren with just a seven-pitch inning. That is not smart.
DIAMOND NOTES

Posada caught Tuesday night for the second consecutive game. It was the first time Posada had been behind the plate in back-to-back games since he fractured his right foot and returned from the disabled list on June 2.  Posada likely will yield the catching duties to Francisco Cervelli on Wedmesday.  The Yankees designated third catcher Chad Moeller for assignment on Monday in order to recall Curtis from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. So it would seem that the Yankees expect no further problems with Posada’s foot going forward.  . . .  The Yankees are concerned about the way Chan Ho Park has been pitching lately. In his last three outings he has given up seven hits and five runs in 2 2/3 innings. He gave up a three-run home run to Justin Upton on Monday that ended the Yankees’ slim hopes of a ninth-inning comeback. 
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will try to win the three-game series on Thursday with veteran right-hander Javier Vazquez (6-6, 5.01 ERA) on the mound.
Vazquez is coming off a very frustrating loss on Friday despite the fact he pitched as well he has in the past month. He gave up only one run on three hits to the New York Mets as the Yankees were shut out for the first time all season at Yankee Stadium.  Vazquez is 5-3 against his former team with 3.74 ERA. 
The Diamondbacks will counter with left-hander Dontrelle Willis (2-2, 4.78 ERA). Willis gave up five runs on five hits in five innings against his former teammates in Detroit on Friday. In his three starts with the Diamondbacks, Willis is 1-0 with a 4.20 ERA but has walked 14 batters in 15 innings. Willis is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his one career start against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 9:40 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.