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Royals interested in Phillies pitcher A.J. Burnett

Hard to see how the veteran right-hander fits in their budget, but the Royals and Phillies are reportedly talking.

Mike Stobe

The Royals have been linked to a lot of pitchers at the trade deadline, almost all of them signed through 2015, so it appears Dayton Moore has an eye for the future. The latest rumor has the Royals interested in Phillies veteran right-handed pitcher A.J. Burnett.

According to multiple sources, the Phillies have had recent communication with the Royals regarding pitcher A.J. Burnett. The Royals have also kept tabs on lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo....

The Phillies face financial hurdles in trading both pitchers [Cliff Lee]. Burnett is owed about $5 million for the remainder of this season and has an escalating player option for 2015 that will be worth $8.5 million when he makes his next start (his 24th of the season) and can rise to as much as $12.75 million if he makes 32 starts.

Ken Rosenthal confirms.

Burnett is 6-10 with a 4.15 ERA and a 3.99 FIP with the Phillies this year. His strikeout rate is down considerably this year at 7.85 per nine innings, with his walk rate slightly up to 3.85 per nine innings.

Burnett is 37 years old and has threatened to retire before, you have to wonder how excited he will be to pitch for a .500 team in Kansas City. You also have to wonder how the Royals will fit him into their budget not only this summer, but next year. The payroll is already extremely tight for next year, and adding a $12.75 million pitcher may preclude them from adding an expensive bat or two that they desperately need.