Not Close To Enough

George King is reporting that the Yankees are trying to trade AJ Burnett. I am not surprised by this development. What does surprise me is that the Yankees are only willing to kick in $8 million with AJ, that won’t get it done.

AJ is going to earn $33 million over the next two years and that is the problem. What team is going to want a pitcher who has put up back-to-back seasons with an ERA over 5 at that dollar figure? Even if the Yankees kick in $8 million that still leaves the acquiring team on the hook for $12.5 a season. Using Fangraphs value system, AJ’s last two seasons are worth about $6 million. Considering his age, it is hard to argue that he will become more valuable over the last two years of his deal, so that is probably a reasonable estimate for what he should earn in 2012 and 2013.

What the Yankees should do is agree to pay more of the contract in exchange for a better prospect. As it stands right now, they will have to pay the full $33 million, it’s a sunk cost. But, if they find a team willing to give them a decent prospect if they pay $20 million, they should do it. Essentially, they would be buying themselves a prospect while getting rid of a headache. That’s win-win in my book.