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The Pirates Want A.J. Burnett For Some Reason And Other MLBullets

Thanks again to Al for inviting me to contribute at BCB. I've been a reader and commenter around here for a long time, so I look forward now to contributing in an additional way. As you'll come to see, the MLBullets are a series of bullet-style posts highlighting newsworthy or interesting or funny bits from around MLB (imagine that), with a non-Cubs focus. In other words, hopefully this will be an easy way to keep abreast of the latest going on in the game, in case you're like me, and sometimes have trouble stepping outside the Cubs bubble.

  • The Pittsburgh Pirates continue their pursuit of New York Yankees' righty A.J. Burnett, reason and logic notwithstanding. Despite a relatively full rotation of comparable starters - the Pirates currently feature other meh rotation options Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Kevin Correia, Jeff Karstens and Erik Bedard - the Pirates are looking to make a deal, with the Yankees paying the bulk of the $33 million Burnett's owed over the next two seasons. Adding Burnett on the cheap makes some sense, be in the hopes of a bounce-back or in the search for depth. Still, I can't help but wonder: is a 35-year-old Burnett really worth a rotation spot on a team like the Pirates (or any other team for that matter)? His numbers the last two years have been frightful, though Keith Law points out that Burnett remains an above-replacement-level player (barely: FanGraphs has him worth 1.4 and 1.5 WAR the last two seasons). Still, that doesn't mean he's a better option than any of the five existing Pirates rotation candidates.
  • Bonus humor from that Burnett-to-Pirates article: a source says the Pirates are "optimistic" that they'll eventually work out a deal because only "the money and players exchanged" are yet to be determined. Oh, that's all? In that case, the Cubs are "optimistic" that they'll eventually work out a trade for the San Francisco Giants' rotation. I mean, all that's left to be settled is the money and the players going the other way, right?
  • Jose Canseco is coming back from his come-back in order to come back; that is to say, the 47-year-old baseball player/boxer/book-writer is going to be playing for a AAA Mexican team this year, at least according to Canseco. Do I smell another 40/40 season?
  • The St. Louis Cardinals are probably going to be pretty good this year, despite losing both the best player in the game (Albert Pujols) and arguably the best manager (Tony LaRussa). They've added Carlos Beltran, and Adam Wainwright returns. Plus, the Cardinals are blessed by the kind of voodoo magic that turns a rapidly-fading Lance Berkman into an MVP candidate.
  • David Ortiz's arbitration hearing is scheduled for today, and, unless a settlement comes at the last minute, the two sides will fight it out in front of a three-person arbitration panel. Ortiz, 36, requested $16.5 million, while the Red Sox offered just $12.65 million, a modest raise over the $12.5 million he made last year. Ortiz's case is an interesting one, as it represents a confluence of competing arguments - he hit well last year, but was trending downward before that; he's already 36 and can only DH; he's hugely popular in Boston and has been a big part of the organization's success (both of which are considered). The specter of a hearing is also of huge importance to the Sawx, whose payroll is already tickling the luxury tax threshold.
  • Baseball Nation offers up the Ultimate Guide to Spring Training, with info ranging from report dates to rosters to broadcast information.
  • FanGraphs' Dave Cameron asks, and then explores, the question: is it just easier to scout pitchers than hitters? (Spoiler alert: yeah, maybe a little.)

Brett Taylor is a Contributor at Bleed Cubbie Blue, and is the Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation.