PHILADELPHIA -- Changes are almost certainly coming for the Phillies.
A franchise-record payroll has not translated into postseason contention this year. The Phillies reached the All-Star break on Sunday with a 42-53 (.442) record, their second-lowest winning percentage at the break since 1997, when they went 24-61 (.282).
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon made it perfectly clear last week that he would like to play on a contending team, and his limited no-trade clause will be no obstacle for the Phillies. If he can play for a winner, he will happily go.
"Some guys want to stay on a losing team?" he said. "That's mind-boggling to me."
Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels have said they have no desire to leave Philadelphia, although each has acknowledged in some way that things can change. The Seattle Times reported Sunday that the Mariners have had serious discussions with the Phillies about outfielder Marlon Byrd, who it said was willing to waive his limited no-trade clause. CSNPhilly.com reported last week that he had the Mariners, Royals, Blue Jays and Rays on a four-team no-trade list.
A.J. Burnett also has a limited no-trade clause. He should have value to a contending team needing starting pitching help. He is 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA in 20 starts this season, including a 2.94 ERA in his past seven starts.
"I signed here to play here," Burnett told a reporter after Sunday's 10-3 loss to the Nationals. "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."
So Burnett doesn't know what he would say if Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. approached him about a trade?
"I have no clue what I would say," he said.
No clue at all?
"I guess it depends on what he says," he said. "I wouldn't know until it's brought to me."
A lot might be brought to Phillies players before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Papelbon has said he would go. Cliff Lee, who rejoins the rotation July 21, has said in the past he wants to play for a winner. Byrd is unlikely to stand in the way of a trade. Burnett sounds open to it, though he isn't campaigning for it, either.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.