The trade deadline is looming and the Phillies are still selling their players to other teams but their contracts have raised issues. Jonathan Papelbon will only waive his no-trade clause to be a closer, Marlon Byrd will only waive his no-trade clause if hie option year is guaranteed and now A.J. Burnett's contract is causing issues.
Burnett 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. The player option is a concern.
ESPN's Jayson Stark reports the Phillies are telling other teams Burnett plans to retire at the end of the season so next year's option is not going to be an issue. Even Burnett himself has told his teammates he plans to retire at the end of the season.
Unfortunately the Pirates, a team that has been interested in Burnett, do not believe Burnett will retire as they thought he was going to retire following last season. Since the Pirates don't believe Burnett, Stark reports talks with Pittsburgh "are all but dead."
Burnett has a partial no-trade clause. He can be traded to the Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Pirates, Reds, Cardinals, Mets and Nationals without his permission.
Burnett, 37, has pitched well for the Phillies this season with a few rough outings skewing his numbers. Overall he is 6-10 with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 23 starts for the Phillies this season, his first in Philadelphia. Opponents are batting .244 off of him this year which is five points higher than his .239 career average.
A deal would not likely bring back major talent but it should help the Phillies minor league depth.
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