The Phillies and A.J. Burnett wouldn't mind working out a deal for him to go to Pittsburgh, but the Pirates' interest, believed mild at best, might fall further if Burnett intends to pick up a player option for next year that's likely to be worth $12.75 million.
The 2015 option is for $7.5 million at its minimum, but it will begin escalating if he reaches 24 starts this season (he has 21 so far). If he starts 32 games, the option would rise to $12.75 million, which would be a budget buster for Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh wanted to bring back Burnett, but he took a much better deal in Philly, which gave him a $16 million salary for this year and that player option the Pirates want to avoid. The Pirates offered $12 million coming off Burnett's big year in Pittsburgh. He hasn't been quite as good in Philly, going 6-9 with a 3.86 ERA.
So Burnett is one of several Phillies with contracts that make trades tough.