Jonathan Papelbon was made it very clear that he wants out of Philadelphia, but A.J. Burnett said yesterday that he has no plans to request a trade from the Phillies.
Burnett, who like Papelbon can block some deals with a limited no-trade clause, told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:
I signed here to play here. I’m not a guy who looks for an out or wants to get out because things aren’t going the right way. If that happens, then it happens, but I’m not looking to move on. This is my team. I understand how things work, but I’m trying not to worry about it. I just try to go about my business and enjoy my teammates.
Burnett hasn’t been able to duplicate the success he had for the Pirates in 2012 and 2013, but he’s been solid for the Phillies with a 3.83 ERA and 108/57 K/BB ratio in 132 innings and has pitched better of late. Having a $7.5 million player option (or $15 million team option) for 2015 could complicate things a bit, but there are certainly plenty of contenders for whom Burnett would be a sizable rotation upgrade.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.