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MLB Trade Rumors: With Sabathia Dealt, How About A.J. Burnett?

Steve Phillips of ESPN runs down a list of pitchers who will have to fill the void C.C. Sabathia left for teams looking to bolster their rotations for the summer's play-off run.  Greg Maddux and A.J. Burnett are mentioned as fits for the Chicago Cubs who are expected to react with action to a division rivals' trade acquisitions.  With the Blue Jays publicly stating it wants a longer-term answer at SS (insert Troy Tulowitzki crack here) in exchange for Burnett, one wonders whether Ronny Cedeno would fit the bill.  More intersting would be current SS Ryan Theriot.

Buster Olney counters.  Without the big name prospects to land Sabathia, he suggests the Cubs will not answer the Brewers move.  While there are warts on the remaining pitchers, I think the Cubs match-up much better with their bewarted prospects.  Can the team land one of the Oaklans A's starters?  Probably not, but A.J. Burnett doesn't endear himself to the Toronto organization.  Nor should the Jays want to risk an injury that prevents Burnett from declining to exercise his out clause and leave the organization on the hook for an additional two years and $24MM.

Jeff Blair of the Globe & Mail quotes Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi, "We'll see the level of interest in him [Burnett], if any. As of right now, we haven't spoken to anybody."  Given Ricciardi's past with lying to the press, I wonder if "speaking" excludes emails or how he defined "we".  Anyhow, if Mr. Blair is correct that the Jays want two "bona fide" prospects for Burnett to make-up for the two draft picks the team would lose if Burnett opts out, then I can see a Alfonso Soriano situation playing out in Toronto just as it did for the Washington Nationals two years ago.


Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the Pirates want to keep Jack Wilson because there is no readily apparent player to fill SS.  The interest of the Los Angeles Dodgers is mentioned with AA RHP James MacDonald and AAA SS Chin-Lung Hu mentioned as the potential offer.  It is noted that the Dodgers have better prospects but they do not appear available for Wilson.

If Wilson could be counted on to repeat last season's 296/350/440, then I can see the Pirates' reluctance, but his efforts in 2008 (304/346/358) seem to point towards a sub-700 OPS which is in line with the vast majoirty of Wilson's career (5 of seven seasons).  Why don't the Pirates ask the Blue Jays what it feels like to have a 30+ year-old, sub-700 under contract?

Mr. Kovacevic also reports the Pirates have had contact with other yet-to-be-named teams about Wilson.  The two most likely Pirates to be dealt are LHP Damaso Marte and OF Xavier Nady.  Unfortunately no team is specifically tied to either.

I wonder whether the Pirates are going to be bridesmaid for their players as the public stance on Wilson signals the team will be hard to deal with.  Add in reports that the Pirates expect Marte to be a Type A free agent and prospective offers have to equal the two draft picks the Pirates would recieve if they offered arbitration and Marte declined, and one is left thinking the worst on the Pirates's possibilities of improving their organization by July 31st.
An interesting name mentioned by the former Mets' GM is Paul Byrd of Cleveland.  Can the Indians get the Phillies to bite on him after losing out on C.C. Sabathia?  Assuming negotiations weren't of the bridge-burning kind, both teams are familair with the others wants and needs.  Byrd has expereince with the Phillies' fans, but he hasn't experienced them in the hitter-friendly confines of Citizens Bank Ballpark.  With a neutral GB/FB rate and no strikeout ability to speak of (3.7 K/9), can he succeed?