A.J. Burnett, whose potential never quite lived up to his paycheque with the Toronto Blue Jays or New York Yankees, could be on the move again.
Numerous reports Friday say the Yankees are trying to trade the right-handed pitcher to the Pittsburgh Pirates. They're angling to get outfielder/first baseman Garrett Jones in return, ESPN reported.
Jones, 30, hit .243 with 16 homers in 2011.
Burnett, a pitcher the fans have had a love/hate relationship with in Toronto and at Yankee Stadium, was 11-11 last season with a 5.15 earned-run average.
The 35-year-old has two years to go on a contract that pays $16.5 million a season. During a 13-year-career -- including three with the Jays and three with the Yankees -- he has a 121-111 record and a 4.10 ERA.
CUBS QUASH TRADE TALK
Off-season trade rumours have all but swept outfielder Alfonso Soriano and pitcher Matt Garza out the door, but general manager Jed Hoyer says both could open the season with the Chicago Cubs.
Hoyer and new Cubs president Theo Epstein have been revamping the roster, but the GM told a Chicago radio station that Soriano would likely be a Cub come April -- although he would like to see improvements in the outfielder's game.
"Our hope is obviously you want him to get on base a little more," Hoyer said. "The power was there last year, the RBI were there. Obviously it really comes down to defence and we're hoping with some better conditioning and some better health, that he can be a little better out there.
Hoyer said Garza, who avoided arbitration by signing a one-year deal, is "a great pitcher and a guy we're going to talk to about being part of our future.
"We need more guys like Matt, not (fewer)."
Soriano, 36, hit .244 last season with 26 homers and 88 RBI.
Right-hander Garza, 28, was 10-10 in 2011 with a 3.32 ERA.
RED SOX DENY BEING CHEAP
Red Sox president Larry Lucchino claimed Boston's payroll would be the second highest in baseball this year, responding Friday to a story on CBS.com that his team suddenly was being frugal.
"I think this 2012 budget will be the highest budget in Red Sox history," he said. "It has been pretty high the last few years."
Criticism of the Sox suggested ownership was pouring money into Liverpool soccer team at the expense of the baseball team.
Sox owner John Henry has spent $179 million this year on players for Liverpool, CBS reported.
Lucchino denied that the soccer team's costs have affected the baseball team.
INDIANS INK CABRERA
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera has agreed to a one-year $4.55-million contract with the Cleveland Indians, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing.
Cabrera, 26, had been seeking $5.2 million, while the Indians had offered $3.75 million.
Cabrera set an Indians record in 2011 for home runs by a shortstop with 25, and was the first Indians shortstop in 63 years to start the all-star game.
"Asdrubal has been a key player on our team ... and we're looking forward to seeing him continue to mature and develop as a player," general manager Chris Antonetti said.
- The Baltimore Orioles signed veteran reliever Luis Ayala to a one-year contract Friday. Ayala, 34, pitched for the New York Yankees last season. In 52 appearances, he posted a 2-2 record with a 2.09 ERA.