Jul 6, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Thanks to the Philadelphia Phillies’ dismal season, general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., is holding a handful of barter chips as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. One player who is attracting a lot of interest is starter A.J. Burnett, he of the 20-team no-trade list that will help him control his future. As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com pointed out today (via Twitter), the teams to which Burnett cannot block a trade include the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates:
Given the Reds generally solid starting pitching in 2014 and their suddenly tenuous status of contenders, it’s pretty unlikely that general manager Walt Jocketty will target Burnett in any trade talks. The same can’t be said for the Pirates, though, for whom Burnett pitched in 2012-13. Despite a 10-11 record with the Bucs last year, he pitched well and was one reason that Pittsburgh broke their playoff drought after two decades.
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This season in Philadelphia, Burnet has posted a 6-9 record with a 4.08 ERA and has seen his strikeout rate drop to 7.4 per nine innings. At 37, he probably doesn’t have many years left in the Majors and reportedly wants to stay near his east-coast home.
At this point in the game, any help the Pirates land has to be seen as a ding to the Reds’ dimming playoff hopes, as Cincy has already fallen a game back of Pittsburgh in the Central standings. Best case for the Reds would be if Burnett lands with one of his other non-block teams (Orioles, Nationals, Royals, Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Cardinals), though preferably not St. Louis.