With Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline less than two weeks away, the Baltimore Orioles are apparently pursuing help for their starting rotation. FoxSports.com/Fox Sports 1’s Jon Morosi reported the following Saturday…
The right hander is 6-9 this season with a 4.08 ERA and 1.361 WHIP over 21 starts in 2014-although he has shown durability by working 136.2 innings-over six innings per start. The 16 year veteran signed a deal with the Phils in the offseason after receiving interest from the Birds in free agency. Burnett’s contract is a bit complicated, as explained in a NJ.com report…
Burnett’s contract could scare off potential suitors if the Phillies don’t eat money in a complex one-year, $16 million contract that easily could turn into a two-year, $32.25 million deal by virtue of a 2015 player option and performance bonuses.
If Burnett stays healthy this season and doesn’t play in 2015, a team trading for him this month could end up paying as little as $5.25 million – $2.5 million in salary, $1.75 million in bonuses (if he makes 10 more starts) and a $1 million buyout.
But if Burnett opts to play in 2015 and he makes 32 starts this season – he’s 12 away – his club option jumps from $8.5 million to $12.75 million. He also can earn another $500,000 next season for making his 24th and 27th starts, and $750,000 for making his 30th start.
Burnett last pitched in the American League in 2011 with the New York Yankees (where he had won a World Series ring in 2009), going 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA. It was his second consecutive season with a five plus ERA for the Yanks, although he followed it up with consecutive sub four ERA seasons after moving to the National League and joining the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Phillies have been expected to be interested in moving a number of veterans, perhaps also including fellow pitchers Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels as well as second baseman Chase Utley and shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Philly improved to 43-54 Saturday after a 2-1 over the Atlanta Braves. They are 10 games back of the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
Burnett has a no-trade clause in his contract with Philly, but it is believed the O’s are not one of the 21 teams he could block a deal to as his family lives in Monkton. The starter had reportedly chosen the Phillies in part because he did not want to pitch in the AL.
A logjam already exists in the starting rotation in Charm City, as Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez will re-join Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Kevin Gausman this week. Ubaldo Jimenez (ankle) is slated to return closer to August and the Orioles have not ruled out returning to a six man rotation. Acquiring Burnett or another starter before July 31 would leave the Birds with difficult roster decisions to make. Gonzalez and Chen would seem to be the most likely candidates to be moved to the bullpen.
It is not known what the Phillies would be seeking in compensation for Burnett. Most reports have suggested the O’s would not be likely to part with Gausman or fellow former first round draft pick pitchers Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey. Other Orioles prospects who could potentially be interesting to the Phillies or another team looking to make a trade include pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez, Mike Wright and Tim Berry; outfielder Dariel Alvarez and first baseman Christian Walker.
Burnett was roughed up in his most recent start, allowing six earned runs on ten hits and a walk over five innings in a loss to the Braves.