According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, the Phillies just announced that right-hander A.J. Burnett has declined his $12.75 million player option for 2015. He’s now a free agent.
This decision comes as a surprise, but it’s one the Phillies have to be pretty happy about. As Jayson Stark of ESPN.com notes, Burnett could have made as much as $14.75 million in 2015 with incentives.
Burnett, 37, posted a 4.59 ERA and 190/96 K/BB ratio in 213 2/3 innings across 34 starts this season. While he has talked about the possibility of retirement, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman hears that he turned down the option because he wants to pitch for a contending team.
Yesterday’s news about the arrest of Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez was pretty disturbing. Today’s update from Jeff Passan of ESPN is even worse.
Vázquez has been charged with solicitation of a child and providing obscene material to minors, and yesterday’s report said that he texted a 15-year-old girl that he would meet up with her after the season for sex. According to police, however, Vázquez had already met with a minor in an attempt to have sex. When she was 13:
Yesterday Vázquez’s attorney, Jay Reisinger, issued a statement saying “We are in the process of reviewing both the Pennsylvania and Florida charging documents, as well as the underlying facts of the matter. At this time, any comment would be premature.”
The Pennsylvania charges referenced involve an alleged statutory sexual assault of a victim who is at least 16 years old by a person who is at least 11 years older than the victim; unlawful contact with a minor; corruption of a minor by a defendant who is 18 years old or older; and indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported last night that the offenses allegedly occurred on Aug. 1, 2018.
Vázquez is still in Pennsylvania, where he was arrested, and is awaiting extradition to Florida. He was denied bail and was characterized by the arraigning judge as a flight risk. Likely because he is a native and citizen of a foreign country with substantial financial resources.
UPDATE: I had missed this previously, but the Pirates issued a statement about all of this yesterday afternoon: