The 27-year-old Kentuckyian is a proven eater of innings (and coconut creme donuts? No?), but he's not really the sort you'd really want to take into the playoffs as your number two starter. He's controllable for a couple of more years and didn't cost the farm, so I suppose Pat Gillick is abiding by the campsite rule in his final year as Phillies GM. Personally, had I been in his shoes I think I would've gone for the higher upside that is AJ Burnett and gambled all on a deeper playoff run this year, but what are you gonna do?
Turning homeward, Mark Zwolinski at The Star is reporting that Burnett most definitely does not want to be traded. The Cubs comments, the sarcastic hat tip? I guess we all read too much into that.
"It seems like there's only bad things get written. ... I'm always saying that I'm a Blue Jay and my loyalty is to this team and you still see some people writing stuff like my heart's not in it," Burnett said.
"I think I had a quote in the paper last weekend about I still had a Blue Jay on my chest and on my hat. Then a writer wrote, `Yeah, but not in his heart.' And when you got a guy pitching on three days' rest, you got a guy that came in the day after his bullpen to pitch an extra-inning game, take the ball and throw, I don't want people to question that (heart). You know I'm here.
"Just because my name's out there and all this stuff, and I made one mistake talking to a Chicago writer ... I enjoy being a Blue Jay and that's where I'm at. That's where I plan on being."But hold the phone, "I'm a Blue Jay and I plan on being here for the rest of the season"? I don't mean to over-analyze these words, but nowhere in this profession of loyalty to his current club does he address the opt out issue and his status for next year. He's still got one foot out the door.
MLBTR lists the Mets, Cardinals and Chisox as teams that could still be interested in AJ, but JP won't be actively shopping the enigmatic righty because it will supposedly drive down his value. And I guess there's nothing wrong with waiting until the very end of the month when there's absolute empirical evidence as to whether the 2008 Jays have any Hail Mary shot at doing anything significant this year before making a move.
But let's not lose sight of the fact that an Burnett trade:
* would provide $4 million of salary relief
* open a slot in the rotation to audition a younger arm that will actually be with the team next year
* and most importantly, probably net the club something better than a very late 1st round pick in the 2009 amateur draft that you'd get as FA compensation after an opt out
It still makes sense, people.
-- Johnny Was