So far there's been a lot of talk, but no action from the Phillies.
Just about every member of the Phils has been linked to some team going somewhere. Some of the rumors have been ridiculous (Papelbon to the Dodgers???), while some of them have made sense.
One potential deal, mentioned today by Fox Sports' Jon Morosi makes about as much sense as any deal talked about so far...
No substantial progress made yet in the Orioles-Phillies talks on Burnett, but there has been initial dialogue, sources say.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 19, 2014
The Orioles make a ton of sense for a bunch of reasons. First, they play in the state that Burnett calls home, Maryland. And as we all know, Burnett wants to be with a team that is close to his home. You can't get any closer than Baltimore.
Second, the O's have a desperate need for starting pitching. Their starters' ERA of 4.07 is 10th out of 15 teams in the American League. Their rotation of Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez would simply not hold up in the playoffs, and it may keep them out of the postseason entirely. Frankly, they could use Cliff Lee more than an A.J. Burnett, but no one is going to do anything with Lee until he gets a couple starts under his belt.
Third, the Orioles have the type of prospects that could interest the Phils. It's highly unlikely Baltimore would part with Dylan Bundy or Kevin Gausman, two highly touted prospects. But they might be willing to talk about Eduardo Rodriguez, a 21-year-old left-handed starting pitcher with a 5.15 ERA, 61 Ks and 25 BBs in 71.2 innings. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop could also interest the Phils, even though they have Chase Utley at second. Schoop is currently on the O's big-league roster, where in 275 ABs the 22-yar-old is hitting .222/.260/.335 with 7 HRs, 64 Ks and 7 BBs.
Morosi says the talks are in the preliminary stages, and while there likely won't be an issue with Burnett's no-trade clause, his contract includes a mutual $15 million option for next year. If the team decides not to re-sign him, Burnett holds a $7.5 million player option. So, that could throw a monkey wrench into the works.
Burnett is also 37, has a 4.08 ERA in 136.2 innings, and has seen his K-rate and GB-rate decline from the last two seasons with the Pirates, all while his walk-rate is on the rise.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have also been linked to Burnett over the last few weeks, and the Yankees say they're not interested in bringing him back right now.
Nonetheless, much like the Byrd-to-Seattle rumors that have since stalled, this match-up of teams makes sense. Stay tuned.
Bowden on Hamels
Look guys, I'm going to be straight with you. There's, like, a 2% chance Cole Hamels gets traded this month. Yes, there are teams with need, but the Phillies DO NOT want to trade him, and would have to absolutely be blown out of the water by a team desperate enough to part with their best prospect, another top-5 prospect, and another younger player with upside, in order to even get the Phils interested.
ESPN's Jim Bowden came up with four teams today (insider access needed) that have the pieces necessary to acquire Hamels. They are, in no particular order, the Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Seattle Mariners.
Atlanta would have to part with right-handed pitching prospect Lucas Sims and middle infielder Jose Peraza, a top-5 prospect, as well as righty swingman David Hale.
Los Angeles would have to deal outfield prospect Joc Pederson, righty pitcher Zach Lee (top-5 prospect) and lefty pitcher Tom Windle. Lefty pitching prospect Julio Urias or shortstop Corey Seager could be substituted for Pederson as the elite prospect.
Toronto would have to offer right-handed pitcher Aaron Sanchez (elite prospect), center fielder Dalton Pompey (top-5 prospect) and righty pitcher John Stilson.
But here's the problem. It's unimaginable that the Phillies would trade Hamels to the Braves, a division rival, having to face him over and over and over again for the next five years. And as Bowden noted in his piece, both the Blue Jays and Mariners are on his no-trade list, and it's highly doubtful he'd agree to go to either place.
So, that leaves Los Angeles. It's up to them. If they make a strong offer, that could potentially be a match. But that is likely the only match out there, unless Boston decides to use Hamels as a replacement for Jon Lester, who they may not be able to re-sign.