The Phillies and A.J. Burnett have each declined their sides of the right-hander’s $15MM option for 2015, The Associated Press reports. This expected move leaves Burnett until Monday to decide whether or not to exercise his $12.75MM player option for next season.
Burnett has considered retirement in recent years, though latest rumors have him leaning towards pitching in 2015 and Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. believes the veteran will return. Burnett posted a 4.59 ERA, 1.98 K/BB rate and 190 strikeouts over 213 2/3 IP last season, a step back from his strong performances with Pittsburgh in 2012-13, though Burnett’s track record would still net him plenty of attention on the free agent market (if perhaps not at a $12.75MM price tag). While he would undoubtedly prefer to pitch for a contender rather than a rebuilding club like the Phillies, Burnett has been vocal about wanting to play for a team close to his Maryland home, so he could decide to just pick up his player option and remain in Philadelphia.