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A.J. Burnett turned down trade to Angels for Bobby Abreu

Feb 16, 2012, 10:15 AM EDT

A.J. Burnett

While the A.J. Burnett trade talks between the Yankees and Pirates keep chugging along Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News reports that the Yankees had a deal in place to send him to the Angels for Bobby Abreu … but Burnett used his no-trade clause to block the move.

Jon Heyman of reported earlier this week that the Yankees and Indians talked about a Burnett-for-Travis Hafner swap at some point, so New York being interested in Abreu as a different veteran designated hitter option makes some sense.

Abreu is part of the Angels’ logjam of bats and is due $9 million this season (compared to $16.5 million over the next two seasons for Burnett). His production has declined significantly in his late-30s, but he still drew plenty of walks, got on base at a .353 clip, and stole 21 bases last year. It’s a moot point, however, as the Angels are one of 10 teams to which Burnett can veto a trade and various reports suggest he’ll wind up on the Pirates.

As for why a player would block a deal to the Angels but not the Pirates, Burnett’s wife is from Maryland and has a fear of flying.

  1. nategearhart - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Cue the flood of “He’d rather play in Pittsburgh than LA so see he’s a total loser who doesn’t care about winning and only wants money” comments in 5…4…3…

    • skeleteeth - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      He would probably rather play in NY. Might be taking all this trade fluff as a diss so would veto any proposal.

    • Old Gator - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      …2…1. He’d rather play in Pittsburgh than LA because he likes to lie awake at night and listen to the town rust.*

      *I quote but I don’t plagiarize. That’s a line uttered by Howard Cosell about Joe Namath at a Friar’s Roast for Namath that my father had the perspicacity to take me to when I was but a sapling. I only remembered one or two of the jokes, but I remembered all of the new vocabulary. Whew.

  2. Jonny 5 - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Why block the Angels then go to the Pirates? That seems a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face to me. I assume that Pittsburgh is not one of the ten teams he can block?

    • nategearhart - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      Who knows, man. Maybe he hates LA. Maybe he hates Mike Scioscia. Maybe he loves Pittsburgh. Maybe he likes black and gold more than white and red. There are way more factors involved here besides recent standings.

      • stex52 - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:44 AM

        Like you say, Nate, this is all total speculation. I knew Houston was on the list – not surprising, they are three years away from good – but LA looks like a real contender. That’s clearly not what it’s about for him. My best guess (and certainly a guess!) is that he likes being an East Coaster. If it’s more about your personal life preferences than how your team is doing, what’s so bad about western Pennsylvania? I can respect that. It’s not exactly the Coast, but it’s not that far.

      • mdpickles - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        I guess we can cross A.J. off the list of players whom like to play for teams with a chance to win the WS. He’s getting paid the same no matter where he goes. Head scratcher for sure.

      • cosanostra71 - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        nategearhart – Feb 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM
        Maybe he hates LA.

        good thing the Angels play in Anaheim then.

      • nategearhart - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:44 PM

        Right, because you hear people all the time saying “I hate LA, but I LOVE Anaheim”.

      • hemiguy08 - Feb 16, 2012 at 7:12 PM


        Have you ever been to LA and Anaheim? If so you’d notice the difference in each place. Even the freeway looks different once you pass into Orange County.

        I live in LA County…I hate LA, but I LOVE Anaheim. There, now you’ve heard one person say it.

    • dwrek5 - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      It seems odd. Maybe he figured Pitt would not buck up enough cash to make it happen, so he didnt bother to try and block them. Hedging his bets I guess.

    • Old Gator - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      Sounds like cutting off a much more important organ than your nose – although given Burnett’s propensity for self-mutilation, probably all that saved it from the scissors was the platinum stud….

    • D.J. Short - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      His wife is from Maryland and doesn’t like to fly.

      • Old Gator - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        I have a friend from Maryland who doesn’t like to swim. Pfiesteria piscicidia.

      • phukyouk - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:47 AM

        beat me by a minute

      • stex52 - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:47 AM

        Well, that certainly makes sense. Then Pittsburgh is practically home. Better than NYC.

      • wfon1 - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        I guess nobody read the article carefully, it gives a pretty good reason why.
        DJ just said it, his wife is from Maryland and doesnt like to fly.

      • phukyouk - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        I’m like 84% sure that DJ added that part after all the questions were asked.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        Yes, Aaron added it after the question.

    • phukyouk - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      his Wife is afraid of flying so he has a no trade clause to all the West Coast teams plus Colorado and Arizona and a few others.

      • Old Gator - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        So she bicycles everywhere else?

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      A J is no Angel

    • lardin - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:32 AM

      He does not want to go to the West Coast. His wife hates to fly. They live in Maryland. He has a limited no trade clause with all the west coast teams on it, because he does not want to play on the west coast and not see his wife.

  3. pjmitch - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Bad move AJ. Bad move.

  4. randygnyc - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    It’s true, all of AJ’s no trade teams are west of the Mississippi.

  5. sdelmonte - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    My first thought was, “don’t you want to be on a contending team instead of the Pirates?”

    My second thought was, “he already is.”

  6. pisano - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Goog God, just trade this guy somewhere out of Yankee stadium..

    • pisano - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:57 AM

      Edit, “Good God”

    • wfon1 - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      dam guys! i dont get it. he was the only one who pitched well in the playoffs for the Yankees. He just had a bad year but good playoffs. Am I wrong?

  7. borninfellspoint - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    the Orioles should trade for Burnett,and good or bad just put him on the mound every 5th day.

    • fellspointbird - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM


      fellspointbird agrees with you

  8. uyf1950 - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    This just in from MLBTR:

    A.J. Burnett Rumors: Thursday
    By Ben Nicholson-Smith [February 16, 2012 at 9:56am CST]
    Multiple teams are discussing right-hander A.J. Burnett with the Yankees, according to yesterday’s rumors. The right-hander vetoed a trade to the Angels, so it’s down to the Pirates and at least one unknown club. Burnett will earn $33MM between now and the end of the 2013 season, and the question of how much money the Yankees absorb figures to shape trade talks. Here are the latest rumors as we await resolution on a deal:

    -The Yankees and Pirates should complete a deal within 24 hours, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and (on Twitter).
    -A team other than the Pirates and Indians made a proposal for Burnett yesterday and the Yankees appear to be approaching a decision,’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). Burnett told the Yankees three weeks ago that he would block a trade to Anaheim.
    -Considerable optimism exists that the Yankees and Pirates will work out a deal, Jon Heyman of tweets. Heyman adds that the Yankees will pay $20MM of Burnett’s contract.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:57 PM


  9. yankees177 - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Look the guys got a ring. Hes a good NL pitcher and a mediocre AL pitcher. He wont have to come back to pitch against the yankees unless its in interleague and his wife doesnt like to fly. I see a lot more pluses for playing for the rats than for the Angels. If his wife is the deciding factor good for him because there are plenty of players out there not treating their wives with half as much respect.

  10. gmsalpha - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    1 of 3 things determine where a player will go, and if he can get 2+, he’s way ahead of the game. Winning. Money. Location.

    For someone like CJ Wilson who has strong California ties, it was a no-brainer. He wanted to be near where he grew up, he got a nice fat contract, and alongside Pujols and a good supporting cast, he has a chance to win some World Series. Not everyone is that lucky, but the hometown West Coast factor played a big part in why he chose the Angels over the Rangers.

    People can laugh at Burnett going to the Pirates, but it’s his decision, and if he pans out and they get other pieces in place, who’s to say they can’t be good. It’s a shame they weren’t more successful with Bonds and Bonilla back in the day. But Pittsburgh is a great sports town and a man has to take his wife’s lifestyle into consideration if he wants to have a happy home life.

    I wouldn’t want to go to Pittsburgh. But I understand why he would reject the Angels’ deal.

  11. spizzjr - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    I’m srry but fear of flying Lmfao you picked a winner AJ

    • Ari Collins - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      Do a google image search. He’s doing okay.

    • Ari Collins - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      More importantly: you’re really ragging on the guy for marrying someone who has a fear of flying? That would be a dealbreaker for you?

    • Old Gator - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      There are millions of people in this country who are full of irrational fears, paranoias and delusions. They’re called Republicans.

      • nategearhart - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        Hence all those poignant Megadeth lyrics.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        Whoa, Whoa, there Gator. Who ever said that it was irrational to have a fear of hurtling through the sky at 600 mph in a tin can loaded with highly combustible fuel? Which also happens to be a favorite target of crazy people with a death wish.

      • Old Gator - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:37 PM

        Are you sure you’re not confusing flying on an airliner with sitting at the grandstand railing during a NASCAR race?

  12. mdpickles - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Which city has better tattoo artists? LA or Pitt?

  13. seahawks80 - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    He is obviously not worried about winning at this point in his career, Pirates over Angels? I understand his wife doesnt like to fly so drive her ass to LA and she can go to the home games.

    • nategearhart - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      Drive his wife from Maryland to LA?

      • seahawks80 - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:03 PM

        Obviously I am talking about driving her for the move to Cali

      • nategearhart - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        They wouldn’t move to LA. They live in Maryland, and it sounds like that’s where they want to stay. I imagine if they were fine with moving to LA, he would have accepted the trade.

  14. seahawks80 - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    By the way his wife is hot and is the only reason I hate to see him leave New York

  15. nategearhart - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    We always tell our kids “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game”. Well, Burnett played the game well enough to make it to the big leagues and get paid a lot of money to stay there. And if baseball is supposed to be a metaphor for life, then scoring a hot wife and doing what you can to keep her happy so that your home life is happy is very much how you “play the game”. So if we want to be consistent with what we tell our kids, I don’t understand why people are knocking Burnett for considering going to the Pirates, where he’ll make a ton of money playing the best baseball he can and then go home to a happy wife. I feel very sorry for anyone who couldn’t be satisfied with a life like that.

    • Old Gator - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      I go home to a happy wife, for which I am both grateful and without fear for my safety.

      • nategearhart - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:24 PM

        I’m certain you also derive satisfaction from your work with, in, and of science Gator. I know I do.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:29 PM

        She’s got a rolling pin to your head right now doesn’t she Gator? Just say what she wants you to say, everything will be fine.

      • foreverchipper10 - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        Hey Gator, this has nothing to do with baseball but I was doing the crossword at usatoday and one of the answers today is “meerkat”. Reminded me of you.

      • Old Gator - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:38 PM

        Dear Buddha, I hate meerkats.

    • stex52 - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      Rich and a happy spouse. Sounds great to me. I won’t quite manage #1, but I have been saying for some time that 75% of happiness is a happy spouse.

  16. pellypell - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    From a pitching prospective, I would rather pitch in the NL than AL. No DH to contend with.

  17. ditka96 - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Maybe he would rather watch the Steelers than the Vikings or Rams…

  18. fleshybear - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    great trade for Anaheim (if the deal went through.) A.J. could have been flipped for prospects or a bundle trade where bobby is a dead contract and Anaheim would be lucky to get anything for him

  19. IdahoMariner - Feb 16, 2012 at 3:12 PM

  20. dgs2012 - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Damn, Burnett in the Angel’s rotation would have looked really good.

    • hemiguy08 - Feb 16, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      On paper it does:


      But then you factor in AJ’s ERA and salary and it doesn’t look so good. Abreu will get traded, but it won’t be for anyone flashy (prove me wrong Jerry).

      • seahawks80 - Feb 17, 2012 at 9:31 AM

        Not gonna happen, they have already advised that they go with a 4 man rotation and will not go to 5.

      • dgs2012 - Feb 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM

        I know Burnett has not been the type of pitcher NY signed to a boatload of $, but I’ve always like his stuff and he always has the capability to throw a gem.

  21. greej1938l - Feb 17, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    You guys are completely dismissing the fact that around 40 games in last yr the pirates were in first. They have a better team this year in a MUCH weaker division. I tend to feel pirates are at least on the radar this year comming from abrewers fan! I wouldnt wanna play with pujols either!! 😉

  22. halshel - Feb 19, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    AJ will be a great fit in the PIRATES lineup. Besides he will be well received by the fans. Much more so than in LA. Pittsburgh has come a long ways since the steel mill days. One of my favorite cities to visit. And they love their sports. Go Steelers, pens and Pirates. It may be a surprising year of hardball coming up.

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