Former Kane County Cougars RHP A.J. Burnett declined a player option that would have paid him $12.75 million to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies again next season.
The 37-year-old pitcher reportedly decided to become a free agent because he wants to play for a contender. He went 8-18 with a 4.59 ERA, 190 strikeouts and 96 walks in 213.2 IP for the Phillies this year.
Burnett pitched for Kane County in 1998, going 10-4 with a 1.97 ERA, 186 strikeouts and 45 walks in 119 IP. His teammates included Ross Gload (.313, 12 HR, 92 RBI in 132 games), who went on to play in part of 10 seasons in the major leagues, and Matt Erickson (.324, 4 HR, 64 RBI, 17 SB in 124 games), who has managed the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers since 2011.