Report: Pirates have been scouting Phillies starter A.J. Burnett

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As the Pirates prepare to gear up for another run at the post-season, they may be looking to bring back a familiar face. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a Pirates scout went out of his way to watch Burnett while he made his start at Turner Field against the Braves on Friday.

Burnett struggled, allowing six runs over five innings. In his first season with the Phillies, Burnett has not had nearly the same success that he enjoyed in his two seasons with the Pirates. On the season, the right-hander owns a 4.08 ERA over 21 starts. He has allowed a league-leading 58 walks. Part of the struggles may be attributed to the inguinal hernia, which he has been dealing with since mid-April.

Burnett, 37, is earning $7.5 million this season. His contract includes, for 2015, a $15 million mutual option or a $7.5 million player option. The player option can increase to as much as $12.75 million depending on how many starts he makes. He is currently at 21. Three more starts (24) will bump it up to $8.5 million; six more bump it up to $10 million; nine more bump it up to $11.75 million; 11 more bump it up to $12.75 million.

The Indians have expressed an interest in Asdrubal Cabrera

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that the Indians have expressed interest in Asdrubal Cabrera.

Cabrera, who began his career in Cleveland, would be a utility guy. Which is not exactly the Indians’ greatest need — they need a starting pitcher above all else — but improvement is improvement. Not much improvement in Cabrera’s case as he’s hitting .250/.333/.398 with nine homers in 70 games this season, but that’s useful if he’s cool with a strictly utility role. Which he’d have to be given that the Indians are solid at second, third and short.

Cabrera would come pretty cheaply of course. Partially because he’s not major piece, partially because he sort of hilariously demanded a trade last month. In large part because he wants to play shortstop which, now that I think about it, may complicate this whole “Cabrera for a utility role” idea the Indians seem to have.

The Rangers are shopping Yu Darvish

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Rangers “have started reaching out to teams potentially interested in acquiring” Yu Darvish.

Texas is only 4.5 games out of the second Wild Card slot, but there are five teams ahead of them and they’ve really never had any traction this year. Such is not the stuff on which a team bases an all-in playoff run. Darvish, meanwhile, is in his walk year, so the Rangers have some incentive to get value for him. Passan says the Astros, Brewers, Yankees, Indians, Rockies and Dodgers could have interest in him, but really, he’d improve any contender.

Darvish is 6-8 with a 3.45 ERA and 131 strikeouts and 42 walks in 125.1 innings.