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AP source: Agreement close on A.J. Burnett trade

- Associated Press - Friday, February 17, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - The Yankees and Pirates are close to a trade that would send pitcher A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh for two minor leaguers, a deal that would clear the way New York to add Raul Ibanez.

Pittsburgh agreed it would pay $13 million of the $33 million salary due Burnett for 2012 and 2013, a person familiar with the negotiations said Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made. The sides still were working on the payment schedule for the amount the Yankees would cover, the person said.

New York would receive 25-year-old right-hander Diego Moreno and 20-year-old outfielder Exicardo Cayones, both low-level prospects.

Once the agreement is reached, it must be approved by Commissioner Bud Selig because of the cash involved.

New York wants to use the money saved to sign a designated hitter. The Yankees already have been negotiating on a major league contract with Ibanez, who has been waiting for New York to agree, a person familiar with those negotiations said, also on condition of anonymity. The contract for the 39-year-old outfielder would have a base salary of about $1 million.

After the Burnett trade, the Yankees also hope to re-sign backup infielder Eric Chavez.

A 35-year-old right-hander, Burnett has gone 34-35 with a 4.79 ERA during three seasons with New York, including 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA last year. His average of 3.98 walks per nine innings was second in the AL and fifth in the majors during that span among pitchers with 400 or more innings, according to STATS LLC.

Burnett became superfluous when the Yankees acquired Michael Pineda from Seattle in a trade and agreed to a one-year deal with free agent Hiroki Kuroda. They joined holdovers CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia.

In Pittsburgh, Burnett would join a rotation that includes newly signed Erik Bedard and returnees James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Jeff Karstens. Charlie Morton is recovering from hip surgery in October. When Morton is available, Karstens could return to the bullpen and spot starts.

Burnett already has received $2,062,500 of his salary for this year because the Yankees pay him in twice-monthly installments over the entire year rather than from April to September, which is the major league standard. Of the remaining $14,437,500, Pittsburgh will pay $5 million and the Yankees $9,437,500. Next year the Pirates will pay $8 million and the Yankees $8.5 million.

Both prospects appear to have little chance of making it to the majors any time soon.

Moreno was 2-4 with a 3.21 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 33 2-3 innings last year during 34 relief appearances for Bradenton of the Florida State League and 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in seven games with Double-A Altoona.

Cayones was 2 for 32 (.063) for State College of the New York-Penn League and 24 for 98 (.293) with no homers and 12 RBIs for the Gulf Coast Pirates last year.

Notes: Reliever Hideki Okajima has been released from his minor league contract with the Yankees after failing his physical, a person familiar with the decision said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Yankees did not make an announcement. A 36-year-old left-hander, Okajima agreed with the Yankees in December, and the team announced the deal Feb. 8. He was 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA in 8 1-3 innings over seven relief appearances for Boston last year, and 8-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 34 relief appearances at Triple-A Pawtucket. An All-Star as a rookie in 2007, he is 17-8 with a 3.11 ERA and six saves in five major league seasons.

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