There’s been talk over the last couple days that the Yankees are shopping AJ Burnett, with recent reports suggesting interest from Pittsburgh. Anytime we’ve heard mention of Electric Stuff being traded this offseason, it’s always accompanied by “the Yankees must pay a significant chunk of his remaining contract.”

There is no question that the AJ Burnett signing was a mistake. However, if the Yankees have to eat the bulk of his remaining $33 million, trading him would also be a mistake. It would be a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

While Electric Stuff is not the top-tier pitcher Cashman and Co. stupidly thought he was, he’d actually make a great 5th starter. His peripherals last year were actually pretty good (3.86 xFIP). His strikeout rate vastly improved in 2011 over 2010 (8.18 K/9 v 6.99). He suffered from an abnormally high HR/FB of 17%. He’s only 2 years removed from a 3.5 WAR season. If the home runs normalize a bit and he keeps all the other rates around the same level, you’re looking at a fantastic 5th starter.

Everyone knows Burnett’s been a huge disappointment. We’ve made fun of him at every opportunity. But if the Yankees trade him while eating a ton of salary, it would be an overreaction to the original mistake they made. Burnett could really tear it up compared to other 5th starters around baseball.

If baseball doesn’t work out for AJ, he can keep dogs in their yards.