AJ Burnett is the same pitcher who thrived in Florida and Toronto. He has perhaps the best stuff in baseball and will give the Pirates the innings they sorely lacked in their starting pitching during the dog days of August last year when their Cinderella season fell off the cliff.
The division has never been more prime for the taking. The Pirates were in first place near the 2/3 mark in '11, before the Brewers and Cardinals got hot. This season, however, the Brewers will be without the services of Prince Fielder and reigning MVP Ryan Braun for 50 games. The Cards lost Albert Pujols and long time manager Tony LaRussa. The Cubs remain the Cubs, losers for over a century.
Picking up Burnett while the Yankees eat 20 million dollars of salary will turn out to be a steal. Many a pitcher couldn't bear the white hot spotlight of New York. Then they often moved on and became successful again. That is what will happen with AJ. And the Pirates will be big benefactors of that transformation.