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Trade Talks Hasten for A.J. Burnett

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By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 16, 2005

SEATTLE, July 15 -- The Baltimore Orioles and Florida Marlins have accelerated trade talks for pitcher A.J. Burnett, according to several baseball sources. One baseball source said Burnett has pitched his last game as a Marlin and that Baltimore may be the favorite to land the 6-foot-4, 230-pound right-hander by the end of the weekend.

Burnett would be a major addition to Baltimore's pitching staff that will also add Erik Bedard, who has been on the disabled list since May 26, on Monday. Burnett, 28, is 5-6 with a 3.64 ERA for the Marlins and is a free agent at the end of the year. To land Burnett, Baltimore likely will ask for a negotiating window to sign him to an extension. Burnett, whose wife is from the Baltimore area, is open to signing a long-term deal with the Orioles. But the Orioles have yet to start negotiating with Burnett.

In return the Orioles likely will give up reliever Jorge Julio, pitcher Hayden Penn and outfielder Larry Bigbie. Florida also would include either outfielder Juan Encarnacion (.282, 11 home runs, 49 RBI) or third baseman Mike Lowell (.228, 4, 36), who would play first base for the Orioles. The Orioles appear to favor Encarnacion but may get stuck with Lowell, who is making $7.5 million this season and is signed for next season as well. Encarnacion is a free agent at the end of the season and likely would take Bigbie's place in the outfield.

Florida had insisted that Daniel Cabrera be included in the deal, but the Orioles resisted. Florida pitching coach Mark Wiley, who was Baltimore's pitching coach from 2001 to 2004, covets Julio. . . . Manager Lee Mazzilli said that catcher Geronimo Gil, who has been on the disabled list since July 3 with an injured left thumb, won't come off the disabled list when he is eligible on Tuesday.


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