Something has to give with the Phillies. At least that’s what they keep telling us.
Jimmy Rollins doesn’t want to be moved. Chase Utley is happy right where he is. Jonathan Papelbon would loved to be moved, but might have douche-bagged his way into staying in Philly. And even if the Phillies do move Marlon Byrd, which it sounds like they might, you are only going to get a medium return, at best, for the 36 year-old. So where does the actual roster turnover, and future improvement, come from?
For the deadline, I think we’ll have to accept the fact that Byrd may provide the best return, and anything after that may turn into a bonus.
Take A.J. Burnett for example. Burnett has a 3.83 ERA and a player-option for $7.5 million next year, so his value is probably lower than Byrd’s. Still, contending teams could still be interested in the 37 year-old, given the fact that he has quite a bit of pennant-race and playoff experience.
Burnett was asked about whether he would consider waiving his partial no-trade clause, which allows him to block trades to 21 of the 29 other MLB clubs, and had this to say.
“I signed here to play here,” Burnett told a reporter after Sunday’s 10-3 loss to the Nationals. “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.”
But according to Zolecki, when Burnett was pressed on what he would say if Amaro approached him with a chance to move to a contender, he didn’t rule anything out.
“I have no clue what I would say,” he said.
No clue at all?
“I guess it depends on what he says,” he said. “I wouldn’t know until it’s brought to me.”
I think when Burnett says, “it depends on what he says”, he means that he won’t close the door on anything, but he likely would only accept a trade to the Pirates or Orioles. Prior to the season, Burnett only had interest in signing with a team near his Maryland home, and the Phillies beat out the Pirates and Orioles for his services. It’s possible that either of those teams, still has interest in him.
If any sort of actual market develops for Burnett, I would anticipate it being after some of the bigger names (David Price, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Jake Peavy) are either traded or their market falls through.
If the Phillies can’t actually get a piece that will eventually make a contribution to the big-league club, it doesn’t make sense to move him. Burnett may retire, and if not, I can live with paying him $7.5 million next year.