It isn't known how far talks have progressed, but top Blue Jays executive Tony LaCava was spotted this week watching the Phillies' Double-A Reading team, an indication things are heating up.
Burnett, 9-8 with a 5.23 ERA, has a complicated contract whereby he can opt out at year's end, which is the most likely scenario. However, should he falter badly or become injured, he can continue with a contract that is to pay him $24 million over the next two years, an option that could deter some teams from taking him. He also has a limited no-trade provision in his $55 million contract.
Burnett has said he would welcome a trade with "open arms'' to the Cubs, but their acquisition of Rich Harden from the A's seems to eliminate them as a potential suitor.
The Phillies made a push for C.C. Sabathia but couldn't match the Brewers' stacked farm system and four-prospect offer, highlighted by top hitting prospect Matt LaPorta. Philadelphia's lead the NL East has been cut to 1½ games, thanks to a six-game winning streak by the New York Mets.
Phillies starters are only 31-31 with a 4.40 ERA, which is 10th best in the National League.