[UPDATE 1:50 PM: According to Joel Sherman, Bruney has been dealt to the Nationals for a PTBNL. Makes more sense than the Braves; Yanks realize the same benefit. h/t: TYU]
According to George A. King III, the Yankees are close to sending Brian Bruney to the Braves for prospect(s).
Putting aside for a second that this rumor is coming from The Post, it still makes no sense. The Braves have already signed Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito for more than $10M guaranteed in 2010. They're about to get blindsided by Rafael Soriano accepting arbitration for around $8M next year. Why in the world would they acquire another reliever - with a spotty track record at that - when he's arbitration eligible and due to make anywhere from $1.5M to $2M next year? The Braves desperately need and want an OF bat and need to free payroll from their starting rotation to acquire one. Why then would they accumulate $20M worth of relief pitching before the Winter Meetings even wrap?
From the Yankees standpoint, I think this would be a good deal. Bruney was initially thought to be a non-tender candidate, but all recent indications have been that he will be offered a contract. By moving him now, the Yankees free an incremental amount of payroll - not a major issue for them - but also give themselves some 40 man roster flexibility. Furthermore, it gives them some latitude with next year's bullpen as it takes an optionless pitcher out of the mix. Bruney would likely have been a candidate to be the "7th inning guy" or even "the 8th inning guy", but we've seen that movie before. The club has enough options with David Robertson, Mark Melancon, Damaso Marte, and potentially either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain to cover the late innings.
I'm not buying this one yet, but it'll be interesting to see where it goes.