NEW YORK -- The Yankees continue to entertain their possibilities for unloading right-hander A.J. Burnett, and the Cleveland Indians briefly joined the fray as a potential landing spot.
CBS Sports reported on Tuesday that the Yanks and Tribe have held discussions revolving around slugger Travis Hafner.
However, MLB.com has learned that discussions have ended between New York and Cleveland, and that a Burnett trade will not be consummated between the clubs.
That seems to firmly re-establish the Pirates as the most likely trade destination for Burnett, whom the Yankees are trying to deal before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Sunday.
A source told MLB.com over the weekend that Pittsburgh is "optimistic" a deal between the Yankees and Pirates will be completed. Another person said on Tuesday that there is a sense the Yanks and Bucs can still find middle ground.
The haggling points have been the amount of Burnett's salary the Pirates would absorb -- he is owed $33 million through 2013, with Pittsburgh expected to take on at least $10 million of that -- as well as the players, likely a selection of Minor Leaguers, that New York would receive in return.
A total of four teams have reportedly shown interest in Burnett, with the Pirates and Indians joined by the Angels as well as an unknown club. However, Burnett's no-trade clause would allow him to veto any deal sending him to a West Coast club.
Hafner, 34, made some sense in discussions because of New York's desire for a power-hitting left-handed bat to help out with designated-hitter duties.
"Pronk" batted .280 with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs in 94 games for Cleveland last year. He is owed $13 million this season and there is a $13 million team option for 2013, with a $2.75 million buyout.
The Yankees are thought to be waiting to resolve Burnett's situation before further delving into the free-agent DH market. New York has been known to have interest in veteran Raul Ibanez, while Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui have been floated as alternative options.
Burnett, 35, has pitched three years with the Yanks since signing an $82.5 million contract before the 2009 season, compiling a 34-35 record with a 4.79 ERA in pinstripes. Last year, Burnett was 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA in 33 games (32 starts).
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.