A.J. Burnett was almost an Angel?

That’s what a Wednesday morning report on ESPNNY.com said. The website reported that the Yankees were trying to sell A.J. Burnett — the enigmatic pitcher who has $33 million left on his deal and is basically left without a role on New York’s loaded staff — on waiving his no-trade clause to join the Angels in a deal that would’ve sent Bobby Abreu back to the Bronx.

The problem: Burnett’s wife is afraid of flying, so it doesn’t look like a move to the West coast will happen.

Burnett, owed $16.5 million each of the next two seasons, still has good stuff but hasn’t been able to translate that into consistent success over the last couple of years, posting a 5.20 ERA in 377 regular-season innings over that span. The Angels are on his no-trade list, but the Pirates are not. And at this point, it appears a foregone conclusion that a deal between New York and Pittsburgh will get done, with the hangup seemingly being how much of Burnett’s contract the Yankees are willing to pick up (maybe upwards of $23 million).

It’s a moot point now, but the Angels were actually possible?

My take: I’m not dismissing the validity of the report — FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal also alluded to the same — I’m just struggling to wrap my head around it. The Yankees have said they only have $1-2 million to spend on a DH, which means that in this potential deal, the Angels would basically eat up Abreu’s $9 million salary. Now, let’s say the Yankees pick up $20 million of Burnett’s deal. That means the Angels — a team that passed on signing far cheaper relievers that they actually needed — would be on the hook for $13 million, and losing Abreu altogether, in order to add a fifth starter who would be a luxury. It would make more sense for the Angels if the Yankees picked up $20 million of Burnett’s contract and stomached Abreu’s salary. But why would they do that if they could save much more in a deal with the Pirates, then sign a guy like Raul Ibanez on the cheap?

Not sure it makes much sense, but hey, it’s not my place to decide.

Alden

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