Been MIA the last couple of days due to the passing of my beloved and only son, Harry James Potter Rainwater.
Haven’t felt like writing or even staying awake or staying … how to put it delicately – or more like bluntly – not drunk. But I still have my girls – Hermione Jean Granger Rainwater, Little Kitty and my dog, Bebe – so all is not lost and I woke up this morning missing baseball with a vengeance.
I mean it feels like in two days (where in reality I didn’t miss all that much) I missed EVERYTHING … was gonna write first about Big Papi and I will get to that eventually today. For now we are gonna go with AJ Burnett who as most know had been mulling the idea of retirement that was until yesterday. The 37 year old does intend to pitch in 2014 the question is where … Baltimore most likely, Tampa Bay yes is in the mix … but the Phillies? Where did that come from … oh just a Philadelphia reporter but it makes so much sense it’s scary. Well not really scary in that I’m worried about the Phils coming after my A’s in the World Series, scary in the sense that it makes so much sense … so here’s a little piece I did for MLB Nation on the subject:
Pitcher A.J. Burnett, 37, had been mulling retirement until an announcement yesterday that changed a few teams’ minds on which of the handful of free agent pitchers remaining that they were looking to sign. Wednesday Burnett announced that he is still planning to pitch in 2014.
Thought by many to be a lock for the Orioles if he were to change his mind regarding retirement Burnett, who resides in Maryland after all, it now appears may have a couple other interested suitors. Another obvious team in the mix is the Tampa Bay Rays, even after avoiding arbitration and re-signing LHP David Price to a 1-year $14 million deal. The Rays actually have the capacity to keep both pitchers if they were to sign Burnett. However, a trade for Price would be more lucrative as he will become a free agent in 2015. They also have the option to wait till mid-season to shop Price for possibly an even better deal. So as the Rays have options, they are still making up their mind.
A tweet by Peter Gammons confirmed that the
Orioles are “all in” on AJ Burnett, Rays in, early in process
But also possibly throwing their hat in the ring for Burnett are the, out of nowhere, Philadelphia Phillies. With a fifth spot left open in their rotation ready to be fought for at spring training, the Phillies could fill that role with Burnett, a proven starter and workhorse. Already their rotation consists of Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez, all locks for the 2014 season, but to have a proven 5th starter could help solidify the aging Phillies team for at least another year.
As of Monday Phillies’ general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Ryne Sandberg, were “keeping their eyes open” according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. But as of yesterday it seems they may have a vested interest in A.J. Burnett, as reported by Ryan Lawrence at PhillyNews.com.
He’s got a point. Burnett could fit in not only as their much needed reliable fifth starter, he could end up in the number two role to break up lefties Lee and Hamels. Burnett who went 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, also led National League starters in strikeout and ground ball rates which would work well in Philadelphia’s home run friendly ballpark. Not to mention the fact that since the Pirates let him go without a qualifying offer whichever team picks him up would be not have to give up a draft pick as compensation, unlike some other free agent starters like Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez.
With their opening day payroll still well below the $189 million luxury tax threshold the Phillies might very well be in the running with the the Orioles and Rays to be the first to try and snatch up A.J. Burnett.