Will A.J. Burnett Be Back in 2012?

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 04: A.J. Burnett #34 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers in Game Four of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park on October 4, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

On Tuesday afternoon, Brian Cashman signed his new three-year deal and held a conference call. One of his comments from Tuesday has been getting plenty of press, and was also mentioned on Pardon The Interruption of ESPN today. 

Cashman said of Burnett on Tuesday, "If he's with us, he's in the rotation." The key word there is 'if.'

Now, maybe that was just a slip. But no matter what, it did open the door for further questions on the topic. So, Cashman explained further: "Let me just tell you this: I am open-minded. If anyone wants to approach me on anyone on this roster that doesn't have a full no-trade clause, the worst I can tell them is no." 

Is Cashman shopping Burnett, or just hoping someone will take his mistake off his hands? He certainly didn't deny his availability.

After back-to-back seasons of 5+ ERA ball and a HR/9 rising at an alarming rate, it may be difficult to move him. Chances are that if he does get moved, the Yankees will eat just about all of the $33M due to him through 2013. Maybe there is a match somewhere out there where the Yankees can swap bad contracts?

So, the floor is yours, Pinstripe Alley. Will A.J. Burnett return in 2012?

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