I am reminded of a classic scene from Seinfeld, the episode where Jerry wants a "refund" for his broken stereo. There is a great exchange between Jerry and Kramer highlighting their collective ignorance:
Kramer: Jerry, all these big companies, they write off everything.
Jerry: You don't even know what a write-off is.
Kramer: Do you?
Jerry: No, I don't!
Kramer: But they do. And they're the ones writing it off.
In baseball, the Yankees are one of those "big companies". And like Kramer's big companies, they're the one's writing it off. The Yankees completed a trade today, sending the mercurial AJ Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates for... well, pretty much nothing, other than that write-off.
Basically, the Yankees are paying the Pirates to take Burnett off their hands. Though the Pirates have uncharacteristically agreed to pick up $13 million of the money owed Burnett over the next two seasons, the Yankees will still be paying him nearly $18 million to play for someone else.
The strangest part of this whole affair was that I thought the Burnett signing was a good one. At the time, Burnett was coming off a great season in Toronto. There was every reason to believe that he'd continue his success in the Bronx. For whatever reason, it simply never worked out.