Report: Orioles have had “very preliminary” talks with Phillies about A.J. Burnett

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Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Orioles have had “very preliminary” talks with the Phillies regarding a deal for right-hander A.J. Burnett. No deal appears to be imminent, but Morosi notes there has been some “initial dialogue” about a possible trade.

The Orioles make some sense as a potential destination, as they could use another arm for their starting rotation. They were also among the teams interested in Burnett before he signed with the Phillies in February.

Burnett gave up six runs over five innings against the Braves last night and owns a 4.08 ERA and 113/58 K/BB ratio 136 2/3 innings across 21 starts this season. He’s making $15 million this season (including a $7.5 million signing bonus) while his contract includes a mutual/player option for 2015 which guarantees him at least $7.5 million. He has a limited no-trade clause which allows him to block deals to nine teams, but considering that he owns a home in Maryland, he would likely welcome a trade to Baltimore.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.