Chris Szagola/Associated Press
Pittsburgh Pirates Get: SP A.J. Burnett
Philadelphia Phillies Get: SS Alen Hanson, OF Willy Garcia
Philadelphia Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett’s rumored return to the Pittsburgh Pirates is a lock or has almost no chance of happening—depending on whom you ask, of course.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, for example, cited an escalating player option for next season when he argued that while the Phillies “wouldn’t mind working out a deal,” the potential money involved “would be a budget buster for Pittsburgh.” It is a valid concern.
Former Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden has a different take. According to a report over at CBS Pittsburgh, he said in an interview with Sirius XM’s Bob Pompeani that the two general managers “continue to work on a deal that will bring Burnett back to Pittsburgh" that he believes will happen in the near future.
If Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. wants to make a deal happen, he can find a way to mitigate any potential obstacle. As such, we will build a deal around the idea that money will not prevent the two teams from coming to an accord.
For Burnett, the Phillies will receive shortstop Alen Hanson and outfielder Willy Garcia.
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo had this to say about Hanson:
Hanson has fast hands, helping him square up balls consistently from both sides of the plate. He has more power than his frame would suggest, and he can drive balls to all fields. Hanson has above-average speed and aggressively uses his speed on the basepaths, but he is still learning how to be a basestealer.
While the tools are there, the progress Hanson has made is what’s most impressive. In 137 at-bats in Double-A last year, for example, he slashed out at .255/.299/.380 and only hit one home run while driving in a meager 10 runs. This season, his slash line sits at .283/.323/.441, and he has 10 home runs, 54 RBI and 19 doubles in 399 at-bats.
Garcia has quite a few things going for him, not least of which is the ability to mash a baseball. Mayo noted that Garcia “will be able to tap into that power more if he can refine his approach and learn not to try to do too much at the plate.”
That is not to say that his results this season are a disappointment. On the year, he has a .271/.303/.497 slash line with 14 home runs, 49 RBI, 22 doubles and five triples in 328 at-bats. Mayo noted that he “projects well as a future right fielder.”
All told, this deal is enough to satisfy both teams, assuming that they can make the money work. True, the Phillies will have to fill the void created by Burnett’s departure, but the club has a couple of options in the minor leagues, and there are several pitchers that could be targeted in free agency.