The New York Yankees were happy to cut ties with inconsistent and overpaid starting pitcher A.J. Burnett and the Sunday night deal that sent Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates should help the Charleston RiverDogs.
The Yankees traded Burnett to Pittsburgh for marginal minor leaguers Exicardo Cayones and Diego Moreno. Moreno is a 25-year-old right-handed relief pitcher and probably will play in double-A in 2012. The 20-year-old Cayones, an outfielder, is a prime candidate to play this season for the Class A RiverDogs, the Yankees’ South Atlantic League affiliate.
Cayones (6-0, 183) is a native of Venezuela who hit .293 last season in 82 at-bats with the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League rookie ball team and .063 in 32 at-bats with Pittsburgh’s New York-Penn League short-season team at State College, Pa. Cayones did not hit a home run in 2011 and stole only three bases.
But Cayones enjoyed a solid winter in Venezuela, where he led the Parallel League with a .504 on-base percentage.
As part of the deal, the Yankees had to pay $20 million of the $33 million left on the remaining two years of Burnett’s contract.
The RiverDogs open their season on April 5 at home against the Rome Braves.