Jul 1, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) throws during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Burnett Trade Talk Is Foolish For Pittsburgh Pirates

We all know how the story played out between starting pitcher A.J. Burnett and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Burnett will make his return to PNC Park on Sunday to take on his former team, but there has been growing speculation for the past couple of weeks that Burnett is someone the Pirates could target at the trade deadline.

The latest of which to chime in on that thought is Matt Lombardo of the Newark Star-Ledger who suggests that Burnett might be happier getting traded back to the Pirates than suffering through a year filled with losing in Philadelphia.

Lombardo wrote:

It is now apparent that the Phillies will likely be sellers at or before the July 31 trade deadline and one of the most likely players to be moved is pitcher A.J. Burnett, according to multiple reports.

Burnett, 5-7 with a 3.89 ERA has drawn interest from the Pittsburgh Pirates but the caveat is any team that acquires Burnett will likely have him for the next two seasons, as he is owed $8M for the rest of this season and can exercise a $7.5M player option for 2015. The Phillies could pick up some of that tab if they do decide to trade him.

Throw in the fact that according to an MLB Daily Dish report, the Pirates are among the nine teams on Burnett’s “Acceptable Assignment” list where he would not exercise his veto power to reject a trade.

I always liked Burnett when he wore a Pirates uniform and I feel the Bucs handled his pending free agency very poorly as Burnett could have been signed in the offseason. As things turned out the Pirates really could have used him early on in the season.

But the simple notion that the Pirates wouldn’t pay Burnett to begin with and are now willing to not only pay him now, but potentially give up assets to get him back, is a foolish notion.

The Pirates have made some head-scratching moves in the past, but this one may top the list.

The need is there and Burnett could likely give the Pirates a boost late in the season, but quite frankly that ship has sailed.

Burnett will be making a return to PNC Park, but it will be only to pitch against the Pirates on Sunday. He won’t be donning a Pirates uniform again anytime soon.

Tags: A.J. Burnett Pittsburgh Pirates

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