Following Wednesday night's win over the Milwaukee Brewers, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was very open with his thoughts on remaining with the Phillies. In short, he wants to be moved to a contender. Papelbon told reporters, "Some guys want to stay on a losing team? That's mind-boggling to me. I think that's a no-brainer (to want to leave)."
Phillies starter A.J. Burnett, who figures to be a hot commodity for contenders at the July 31st trade deadline, was asked about his thoughts on finishing out the season with the Phillies. His thoughts could not have been any more different than Papelbon's.
"I signed here to play here," Burnett told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. "I'm not a guy who looks for an out or wants to get out because things aren't going the right way. If that happens, then it happens, but I'm not looking to move on. This is my team. I understand how things work, but I'm trying not to worry about it. I just try to go about my business and enjoy my teammates."
Burnett would also go on to say, "I have no clue" when asked how he would respond to general manager Ruben Amaro if Amaro approached him about a potential trade.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have expressed interest in Burnett. Burnett can block a trade to 21 teams but the Pirates are one of nine teams on Burnett's "acceptable assignment" list. A source told MLB Daily Dish a Burnett trade before July 31st is likely and Pittsburgh is the "single best fit" for the right-hander.
The only hold up with a potential Burnett-to-Pittsburgh is his contract. He is owed $4.9 million after July 31st with a $15 million mutual option for 2015. One caveat in the contract is if the Phillies decline their half of the $15 million option, Burnett has a $7.5 player option for 2015.
Burnett, 37, is 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP through 20 starts with the Phillies this season. His strikeouts-per-nine is down to 7.4, his lowest K/9 since 2001, but still has been largely effective for the Phillies and can help a contender down the stretch.
Watching Burnett interact with the rest of the Phillies, pieing teammates and pitching well is nice to see. Honestly, with all the negativity surrounding the team this year and over the past few seasons, hearing someone wants to stay in Philadelphia and play for the Phillies is refreshing. I had my doubts about Burnett entering the season but he has put all of them to rest.
Follow Steve on Twitter @SDolan3
Follow Whiz Wit on Twitter @WhizWitSports