The Details Of A.J. Burnett’s No-Trade Clause

Earlier today, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported the teams to which Cliff Lee can be traded without his consent, and he now reports the trades to which Lee’s teammate, A.J. Burnett, can be dealt without consent (Twitter link).

Burnett has the same 20-team no-trade clause that Lee has, according to Crasnick, and the nine teams to which he can be dealt without prior approval are the Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Pirates, Reds, Royals, Nationals and Cardinals. Unlike Lee, Burnett appears to have factored personal preference into his no-trade clause more than leverage. While Lee blocked potential deals to contending clubs outside of his division, Burnett blocked deals to markets that are further away from his Maryland home. All nine teams to which Burnett can be traded are in the midwest or on the east coast, which isn’t necessarily surprising, given the strong role that geography played in his free agency decision this offseason.

Of note is a second tweet from Crasnick, in which he says the perception that Burnett and the Pirates parted on bad terms is vastly overblown. It appears that Burnett would be open to a reunion with the Bucs, for whom he excelled in 2012-13. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Pirates are equipped to take on his remaining salary.

Per Cot’s Contracts, Burnett is owed $7.5MM in 2014 salary, with a $2.75MM deferred signing bonus payment due next January and a $3.75MM deferred signing bonus payment due next June. Additionally, Burnett will earn an extra $500K upon reaching 24 and 27 games started, and he will receive an additional $750K if he reaches 30 starts.

His complex contract also contains a $15MM mutual option ($1MM buyout) that becomes a $7.5MM player option if the team declines its half. That player option increases to $8.5MM with 24 starts, $10MM with 27 starts, $11.75MM with 30 starts and $12.75MM with 32 starts. Burnett is tied for the league lead with 21 starts, making him very likely to hit the salary and option escalators in his contract.

12 Responses to The Details Of A.J. Burnett’s No-Trade Clause Leave a Reply

  1. The Burnett-Pirates decision boiled down to money. They didn’t offer him the QO, which he probably would have accepted, and then they’d spent the money it would’ve taken to give him a competitive offer by the time he decided to pitch.

    A reunion likely boils down to money as well.

  2. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 12 months ago

    Sometimes I think PHI tries to create as much financial uncertainty as possible with their FA deals. I have a hard time believing the incentives and mutual/player option with escalators were AJ’s idea.

    • godewey 12 months ago

      That is an insane contract. Even without him getting his starts they
      would have paid him over 7 million if they declined.

      • NotCanon 12 months ago

        Assuming he didn’t decide to retire. Which still seems a fairly plausible outcome.

  3. Joe W. 12 months ago

    I would like to see AJ back in Pittsburgh. but all comes down to cost. His salary isn’t horrible but is up there, but more the cost of talent.

  4. AKSHUN 12 months ago

    If you’re the Phillies, are you more interested in dumping money or getting prospects back? Aside from Byrd & Lee their FA signings haven’t worked out and neither have trades for players in Majors or Minors

    • Max Power 12 months ago

      Prospects, AINEC

      • AKSHUN 12 months ago

        With the size of a lot of those contracts(especially Pap,Lee), the prospects you get back won’t be much, unless the Phillies eat some of the deal, which hasn’t really ever been their MO

        • Max Power 12 months ago

          Their MO has been pretending they can contend next year with some luck and tweaks. That’s no longer the case. Rosenthal had an article yesterday saying they will eat money, as they should.

          • NotCanon 12 months ago

            They’ve also been scared witless by the Thome trade back in ’05, where they ate bunches of money and he proceeded to be great for the life of his contract.

            Now that they have much more income certainty (~$200MM/year in TV monies), I could imagine them being willing to part with some of their lucre. Especially on deals that only last for another 1-2 years.

            Of course, I also wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t

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