Pirates mulling Blanton as fallback option
The Pittsburgh Pirates hopes of adding high priced Yankees starter A.J. Burnett remains very much alive as spring training is inching closer.
The Pirates and Yankees continue to haveÂ discussions regarding a potential Burnett trade and the Pirates are the only team said to have legitimate interest in Burnett.
However, the snag in talks is that the Yankees covet Garrett Jones who the Pirates project as their starting first baseman. Pittsburgh is showing no interest in moving Jones.
The view though in league circles is that the Yankees are eventually going to come down on their asking price of Jones and pickup the bulk of money still due to Burnett to open up money to pursue other moves.
Burnett, 35, is owed $16.5 million in each of the next two seasons. He is signed through the 2013 season and the Pirates are not on his no trade list.
Burnett signed a 5 year – $82.5 million deal with New York in December 2008 , but has been a huge disappointment in New York. He went 11-11 with a 5.15 era in 2011 and had an awful 2010 campaign, going 10-15 for New York.
Burnett though is a risk scouts feel is worth taking for a Pirates team and he still has a lively arm where he could be a factor in the mediocre NL Central.
Meanwhile, one name to keep an eye on is Philadelphia Phillies starter Joe Blanton. Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that the Phillies want to move Blanton in the worst way to clear salary and that the Pirates are said to have mild interest in Blanton who is owed $8.5 million in 2012.
Blanton made just eight starts last season due to elbow issues and according to Stark no team will touch him until they see him throw the ball in the spring training.
The 31 year old went 1-2 last season with a 5.01 ERA. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound right hander went 9-6 (4.82 ERA) in 2010 and 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA in 2009. Blanton is 73-62 in his career with a 4.32 ERA.