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a.j. burnett

A.J. Burnett Doesn’t Want to Be an Angel

A.J. Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees throws to first for the final out of the fifth inning on a ground ball from Delmon Young #21 of the Detroit Tigers during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park on October 4, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.

The Yankees, now rife with pitching talent, have been doing their darnedest to unload A.J. Burnett and get something — anything — in return. The hope is to deal Burnett before he's supposed to report to camp this weekend, thus saving some awkwardness for everybody involved. New York's front office has been in contact with a number of suitors and thought they'd finally found an acceptable one yesterday. The Daily News reports that the Yankees had a deal in the works that would send A.J. Burnett to the Angels in exchange for an old friend, Bobby Abreu, who they could plug in as their designated hitter. It all made perfect sense, except for one problem.

A.J. Burnett is apparently not a big fan of the West Coast, and it's within his rights to indulge that aversion:

Burnett is allowed to pick 10 teams he can refuse to be traded to and the Angels are one of them, as are the Mariners and the other West Coast teams. Burnett and his family live in Maryland.

Dammit, A.J.! That's a perfectly valid reason to want to stay on the Atlantic coast, but the list of players who'd rather play in Pittsburgh than Anaheim can't be very long. And indeed, that appears to be the Yankees' next best option. They're talking to the Pirates about exchanging Burnett for "two marginal prospects," which is something, but won't help New York at DH. They'd likely have to turn back to free agency to fill that hole.

Incidentally, the article also quotes an official saying the Yankees are "prepared to go with A.J. the whole year" if they can't find a taker that pleases both the Yankees and Burnett's easterly disposition. So there's that.

Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images