OAKLAND, Calif. — With the nonwaiver trade deadline around the corner, we have our latest rumor about veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett pitching for the Orioles.
We had enough of those in the offseason before Burnett signed a one-year, $16 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. According to a Fox Sports report, the Orioles and Phillies have had “preliminary talks” about a trade.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. The Orioles’ rotation had a 3.17 ERA over the past 34 games heading into Saturday night. Orioles manager Buck Showalter has said he likes the club’s current starters and believes he can win with them.
Ubaldo Jimenez could make a rehabilitation start Wednesday, meaning he could return from the disabled list by the time the Orioles get back from their West Coast road trip next week. And while Jimenez, whose return would give the club six starters, hasn’t been great this season, he has a strong track record in the second half of the season.
Burnett's ties to the area are well documented. He lives in Monkton, but that wasn't an important enough factor when he signed with the Phillies during spring training.
So do you want to add starter to the mix, one who is just 6-9 with a 4.08 ERA this season and will command a prospect bounty from a Phillies club looking for one?
Burnett is also in line for a $15 million mutual option for 2015. Currently, if the Phillies decline the option, Burnett could activate a $7.5 million player option. There’s also a $1 million buyout that would have to be paid if Burnett makes fewer than 30 starts in 2014 and one side declines the 2015 option. Burnett also reportedly has the ability to veto a trade to 21 teams.
We all know the Orioles will be hesitant to deal top prospects in a deal, particularly pitching prospects. So, like most trade talks, the final question is what the Orioles are willing to give up to make a deal — and whether the return can be the difference in getting them to the postseason and beyond.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun