AJ Burnett trade rumors are in no short supply. We’ve heard Pittsburgh and Seattle as possible scenarios but Dan Martin of the NY Post brought up the Kansas City Royals today. Martin says “the Pirates and Royals among the teams most actively looking into acquiring Burnett.”
To me the Royals are an intriguing possible trade partner because they have what the Yankees are looking for in return – hitters, more to the point young hitters. We know the Yanks sought lefty DH/OF Garrett Jones from Pittsburgh and were supposedly re-buffed, so who would make sense to get back in return from KC?
I wrote about the perfect fit Billy Butler would be a couple of weeks ago, but he would require much more than AJ (think Betances and more) and there is no way KC would part with their young lefty hitters, 1B Eric Hosmer or OF Alex Gordon. However, the Royals have a player in AAA ready for the big leagues but is blocked by the aforementioned Butler, Hosmer & Gordon – his name is Clint Robinson.
Robinson, 26, is a 6’5″ 235 pound lefty hitting 1B/DH who has nothing more to prove in the minor leagues. In 2010, he won the AA Triple Crown with a .335-29-98 line that included a .410 OBP & .625 SLG. Promoted to AAA in 2011, he kept hitting, posting a .326-23-100 line with a .399/.533/.932 OPS. He was drafted in the 25th round in 2007 and is not considered a big time prospect because of his draft position, relatively modest stats in A ball and lack of defensive skills. But through hard work and back to back monster years, he’s ready for prime time. I should temper the expectations a little with the disclaimer that the numbers put up in 2011 were in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. However, the guy can obviously hit.