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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A.J. Burnett to Phillies

Burnett: How many more years…

The Philadelphia Phillies and pitcher A.J. Burnett reached an agreement Wednesday on a one-year deal worth $16 million, a source confirmed to ESPN.com.

Burnett and the Phillies have to work through some additional details before the deal will be announced, the source said.

The 37-year-old Burnett spent the past two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The right-hander went 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA with team highs of 191 innings pitched and 209 strikeouts last season, helping Pittsburgh reach the postseason.

In October, Burnett told a Pittsburgh radio station that he would return to the Pirates as a free agent this year or retire.

Repoz Posted: February 12, 2014 at 01:54 PM | 68 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: phillies

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   1. steagles Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4655567)
@AndrewSimonMLB
A.J. Burnett will be the ninth player on the Phillies' 40-man roster born in the 70s. The rest of the NL East has seven.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4655569)
The Phillies are getting younger!
   3. zonk Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4655572)
Hopefully, they can teach this kid to play the game the right way.
   4. BDC Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4655579)
I thought he was going to Baltimore. He get on the wrong bus or something?
   5. DL from MN Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4655580)
Good move for the Phillies. One year contract to try to open the window back up.
   6. Rough Carrigan Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4655581)
The Phillies have a unique way of defending their home field. After beating visiting teams they yell at them to get off their lawn.
   7. jmurph Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4655586)
A.J. Burnett will be the ninth player on the Phillies' 40-man roster born in the 70s. The rest of the NL East has seven.


I am NOT happy that this is shorthand for being old.
   8. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4655589)
I am NOT happy that this is shorthand for being old.


Seriously. What the #### people?
   9. John Northey Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4655590)
As a person born in the 60's (a few months before Griffey Jr) trust me, you get used to it. Just wait until the 80's becomes shorthand for old.
   10. Textbook Editor Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4655594)
What is truly funny is that the 2014 Phillies may wind up with an average player age older than the "Wheeze Kids" of 1983.
   11. AROM Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4655600)
I am NOT happy that this is shorthand for being old


Burnett was born in 1977. He's among the old and I'm 7 years older than him.

Mo was the last player born in the 60's to play MLB. Darren Oliver is officially the last player older than me to play ball, since he pitched 3 days after Mo's final appearance.
   12. John Northey Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4655603)
Need Roger Clemens to come back with the Astros to reset his HOF clock. C'mon Roger, not like the Astros are winning anything might as well have fun and let all of us geezers see someone older than us play once more.
   13. AROM Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4655605)
Just wait until the 80's becomes shorthand for old.


It already is for prospects. If you were born in December of 1989, then this will be your age 24 season. Not too late if you're in AAA, but below that level you're more of a suspect no matter what kind of numbers you put up.
   14. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4655606)
Good move for the Phillies. One year contract to try to open the window back up.

Yeah, this is on the right track. You're already all in for this season at least. Adding Burnett and Fausto Carmona on one-year deals is a lot better than signing Scott Feldman or Matt Garza to 4 years, $48 million or something.
   15. AROM Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4655607)
Or Moyer, but it looks like he's done as he moves into the broadcast booth.
   16. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4655609)
I'm guessing he'll end the season with Cincinnati
   17. jacjacatk Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4655614)
The Phillies are getting younger!


It's actually funnier to note that they aren't, because they're signing one of the only remaining guys actually old enough to raise the team's average age.
   18. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4655619)
Burnett was born in 1977. He's among the old and I'm 7 years older than him.


Relax. There's baseball-old and there's normal person old. You're not normal person old. You're normal person middle-aged.
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4655642)

tough break for the Mets, who I hear bid $15.94 million. at least no one can say they aren't trying!
   20. Davo Dozier Posted: February 12, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4655675)
The Phillies are getting younger!
And Leon's getting larger!
   21. JRVJ Posted: February 12, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4655705)
I'm reading reports in the Philly press to the effect that Cole Hammels will miss some (perhaps all) of his April starts.

Burnett's signing makes some sense in that context.
   22. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 12, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4655711)
god the orioles suck.
   23. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: February 12, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4655715)
My son just applied for an intern job for the the new stat guy at the Phillies. One of his questions to answer was "If you had 5M to spend on players this year, what would you do?" I guess the right answer was "Ask for 11M more and sign A. J. Burnett."
   24. bobm Posted: February 12, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4655725)
After leaving the Yankees for a lower key environment, why then go sign with Philadelphia? If he pitches poorly, the fans may be more hostile than they would have been in some of his other options.
   25. Jeltzandini Posted: February 12, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4655731)
Season, Oldest Player, Birth Year, #1 single of the year:

2013, Mariano Rivera, 1969, Get Back (Beatles)
2012, Jamie Moyer, 1962, Return To Sender (Elvis)
2011, Tim Wakefield, 1966, Strangers In The Night (Sinatra)
2010, Moyer
2009, Moyer
2008, Moyer
2007, Julio Franco, 1958, Volare (Domenico Modugno)
2006, Franco
2005, Franco
2004, Franco
2003, Jesse Orosco, 1957, Too Much (Elvis)
2002, Orosco
2001, Orosco
2000, Orosco
1999, Orosco
1998, Dennis Martinez, 1954, Oh! My Pa-Pa (Eddie Fisher)
1997, Martinez
1996, Martinez
1995, Dave Winfield, 1951, Cry (Johnnie Ray)
1994, Charlie Hough, 1948, Twelfth Street Rag (Pee Wee Hunt)
1993, Nolan Ryan, 1947, Near You (Francis Craig)
1992, Ryan
1991, Ryan
1990, Ryan
1989, Tommy John, 1943, Paper Doll (Mills Brothers)
1988, John
1987, Phil Niekro, 1939, Over The Rainbow (Judy Garland)
   26. Textbook Editor Posted: February 12, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4655754)
My son just applied for an intern job for the the new stat guy at the Phillies.


Is the intern's job to twiddle the stat guy's thumbs for him while he awaits instructions from RAJ (that wil never come)?

I know they won a WS in 2008, but is there a more sabermetrically screwed-up organization than the Phillies?
   27. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: February 12, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4655762)
[25] I'm slightly surprised that "oldest player" titles are typically held for at least three years. It seems like a distinction that wouldn't be held for very long.
   28. TJ Posted: February 12, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4655770)
My son just applied for an intern job for the the new stat guy at the Phillies. One of his questions to answer was "If you had 5M to spend on players this year, what would you do?"


PlayerS? Plural? $5 million? Is the correct answer "A middle reliever and backup catcher"?
   29. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: February 12, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4655776)
What is truly funny is that the 2014 Phillies may wind up with an average player age older than the "Wheeze Kids" of 1983.


The name kicking around for the 2014 squad in Philly is the "Was Kids."
   30. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 12, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4655778)
My son just applied for an intern job for the the new stat guy at the Phillies. One of his questions to answer was "If you had 5M to spend on players this year, what would you do?"




I hope he answered correctly and said FIVE DELMON YOUNGS!
   31. Jeltzandini Posted: February 12, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4655783)
Looks like 2014 will be Jason Giambi, 1971, My Sweet Lord (George Harrison). If you won't vote for songs with a plagiarism taint, it's John Lennon's Imagine.



   32. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 12, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4655785)
The only #1 single for the given years that matches those in post #25, according to Billboard Magazine, is 1951 and "Cry." I fear some website is spreading horrendous Francis Craig misinformation.
   33. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: February 12, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4655795)

After leaving the Yankees for a lower key environment, why then go sign with Philadelphia? If he pitches poorly, the fans may be more hostile than they would have been in some of his other options.


Is Philly still a hostile environment? Yes, yes, batteries at players, boo santa, hate on Schmidt, but I got the impression since moving into their new sporting venues and winning the WS the crowd had shifted a bit.
   34. Jeltzandini Posted: February 12, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4655800)
Got them from Wikipedia's Year In Music pages. There is indeed a profound disagreement. Recording industry stats are notoriously rather fluid. And corrupt.
   35. Perry Posted: February 12, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4655818)
As a person born in the 60's (a few months before Griffey Jr) trust me, you get used to it. Just wait until the 80's becomes shorthand for old.


Born in the 50s. What makes ME feel old is that there are freaking REMAKES of movies the originals of which came out when I was already over 30 (latest being Robocop).
   36. donlock Posted: February 12, 2014 at 05:09 PM (#4655819)
The least useful piece of information about signing Burnett is that he lives in Monkton, MD. The Os toyed with the idea of signing him in 2009 with a hometown appeal. He took $16.5 mil to go to the Yanks. Now in 2014 his salary is still about $16mil and he signs with the Phils.

Hard to imagine either the Pirates or Os were seriously in the running at $16 mil. Never heard any other team in serious talks with him so who were the Phils bidding against? More that $10 or $12 for one year seems a massive overpay.

(Not sure if comment #19 about the Mets was legit or a joke. Hard to see him getting back into the NY media bath.)
   37. steagles Posted: February 12, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4655824)
Is Philly still a hostile environment? Yes, yes, batteries at players, boo santa, hate on Schmidt, but I got the impression since moving into their new sporting venues and winning the WS the crowd had shifted a bit.
taser, vomit. yes.
   38. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 12, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4655825)
It's ONE year. Who cares if you're overpaying by $3-4 million? He made perfect sense for the orioles and they should have signed him.
   39. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: February 12, 2014 at 05:20 PM (#4655826)
Hard to see him getting back into the NY media bath.


Mets =/= Yankees.
   40. Davo Dozier Posted: February 12, 2014 at 05:27 PM (#4655828)
Even though I don't think it's a very good plan, it's good to see (at last!) that the Phillies do indeed have a plan in place.
   41. SG Posted: February 12, 2014 at 05:31 PM (#4655829)
He made perfect sense for the orioles and they should have signed him.


Wasn't the scuttlebutt that Burnett preferred to stay in the NL?
   42. Bug Selig Posted: February 12, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4655848)
I'm reading reports in the Philly press to the effect that Cole Hammels will miss some (perhaps all) of his April starts.

Burnett's signing makes some sense in that context.


Yeah, winning 74 is way better than 73.
   43. Natty Fan Posted: February 12, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4655882)
I've seen plenty of laments by Orioles fans, but can Pirates fans fill me in on what the Pirates are doing?

They won 94 games last year; they out-performed their pythag by 6 wins. It seems like this is a good team on the edge of contention. They should be willing to pay a premium for every win they can retain or acquire to keep them in that 88-92 win range. Instead, they let Burnett sign with the Phillies for the same salary they paid him last year.

Does the Pirates front office think:

1. That this is an 88-win team or better even without Burnett, and $16 million could be put to better use later this year (draft, free agency, trade)?
2. That this is NOT an 88-win team, and that Burnett couldn't make them one (so why spend the money on him)?
3. That Burnett can't duplicate his 2013 performance, so the state of the roster is irrelevant -- he's not worth anything.
4. The team is at or near its payroll limit, and even the increased chance at a postseason berth wouldn't justify the $16 million?
   44. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 12, 2014 at 06:58 PM (#4655889)
Instead, they let Burnett sign with the Phillies for the same salary they paid him last year.


The Pirates only paid about half of Burnett's salary, with the Yankees picking up the rest.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: February 12, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4655909)
"If you had 5M to spend on players this year, what would you do?"

Need more info. For which team? OK, use the Phils as an example. What's the organizational goal? (i.e. rebuild, go for it, wander aimlessly) Is the money strictly to be spent on ML payroll or could it be used for draft/international signings? If we contend will there be extra money available to pick up players at the deadline? Does this rule out signing somebody like Maholm for 1/$1.5 with $4 M in incentives? Does this mean I can sign somebody for 2/$10 (i.e. $5 AAV with a guarantee that $5 will be there next year)?

Some abstract options, assuming ML payroll only:

DeJesus 2/$10.5
Ellis 1/5.25
Furcal 1/3
F Gutierrez 1/1 (just how hurt is he?)
Hanson 1/2 (same question)
K Johnson 1/3
Maholm (depends on those incentives I guess)
Chris Perez 1/2.3 (should have trade value if not a nutball)
Punto 1/3
Roberts 1/2 (penny stock)
Brendan Ryan 2/5
Schumaker 2/5
Soto 1/3
Suzuki 1/2.8
Sweeney 2/3.5
Thornton 2/7 (should have trade value)

Obviously not a lot there, the only "starting quality" players are probably DeJesus and Maholm, maybe the Cs. Interestingly, players does seem correct rather than player -- almost nobody signs for $5 M, they are either good enough to get something like $7 or bad enough to not get more than $3. As is, I'd probably have grabbed Punto and Sweeney -- good bench players for the price -- or Maholm.

Your kid can steal my answer if he wants, I don't work for free anyway. :-)

On a lot of those guys, I don't know how injured they currently are nor do I know if there are incentives in their contracts, etc. If I was the Phils, I might have grabbed DeJesus over Byrd but that's water under the bridge but they still have a use for DeJesus unless I've forgotten their 4th OF.

After leaving the Yankees for a lower key environment, why then go sign with Philadelphia?

Well, "Burnett can't handle NY" is, as far as I know, a NY media meme not something Burnett believes. Or has he said so himself? And he didn't leave the Yanks for a lower key environment, the Yanks traded him to a lower-key environment. Did he have a NTC?
   46. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: February 12, 2014 at 07:47 PM (#4655913)
I read the CBS Sports headline as "Phillies, Burrell agree to one-year, $16M contract" and thought somebody had messed up a one-day contract for Pat the Bat to retire as a Phillie.
   47. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: February 12, 2014 at 07:58 PM (#4655921)
Walt, he said to sit until the trade deadline because 5M ain't gonna make or break the team.

The Phils have John Mayberry, Jr. for something like 1.5M as their 4th OF. Overpaid by 2x.
   48. TerpNats Posted: February 12, 2014 at 08:07 PM (#4655927)
This just in: The Phillies have reached agreement for an AARP booth in Ashburn Alley.
   49. JRVJ Posted: February 12, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4655928)
42, it's really only money AND it will probably help to get higher ticket (and concession) sales at the Bank.

In any case, the Phillies have not lost any of their draft picks during this FA season. Whatever you may think of Marlon Byrd and A.J. Burnett, the rebuilding of the Philly farm system can continue unimpeded, and THAT is something to celebrate.

(Plus, if his contract allows it, Burnett could be flipped for some younger talent mid-season).
   50. bobm Posted: February 12, 2014 at 08:22 PM (#4655932)
[45] Well, "Burnett can't handle NY" is, as far as I know, a NY media meme not something Burnett believes. Or has he said so himself? And he didn't leave the Yanks for a lower key environment, the Yanks traded him to a lower-key environment. Did he have a NTC?

I don't think it was an Ed Whitson thing. Burnett was a good Yankee teammate, but he was under a lot of pressure, whether self induced or otherwise.

Pirates’ Burnett thrives after escape from Yankees
NY Post
By Joel Sherman
May 10, 2013 [...]

A.J. Burnett — 16-10 with a 3.51 ERA last year with Pittsburgh — is 3-3 with a 2.57 ERA and 62 strikeouts this season, when the Yankees are paying $8.5 million of his $16 million salary.

The consensus is that he is beneficiary of a change of scenery, mainly in leaving the stress of the Yankees and the AL East. One NL personnel man echoed the theme of three executives asked about Burnett by saying the righty “is better and the reason isn’t stuff — it’s environment. Burnett is a classic small-market guy; the less the games matter the better he pitches. It’s not unlike Kenny Rogers or others who have struggled when they went to bigger markets to play where every game mattered. It’s easy to pitch in Pittsburgh because all you have to do is finish .500 whereas with the Yankees it’s a relentless pursuit of the next World Series title.”

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle actually said big responsibility is central to Burnett’s Pirates success, explaining, “he was just another guy in New York. He is not another guy in our clubhouse. He is our guy. … He has met the challenge and been up to it. He has been absolutely awesome.”

Russell Martin, who has caught Burnett in both locales, said, “being The Guy has helped him. He is just being free out there, just being himself. He is not adding pressure on himself.”
   51. zonk Posted: February 12, 2014 at 09:11 PM (#4655947)
I've seen plenty of laments by Orioles fans, but can Pirates fans fill me in on what the Pirates are doing?

They won 94 games last year; they out-performed their pythag by 6 wins. It seems like this is a good team on the edge of contention. They should be willing to pay a premium for every win they can retain or acquire to keep them in that 88-92 win range. Instead, they let Burnett sign with the Phillies for the same salary they paid him last year.

Does the Pirates front office think:

1. That this is an 88-win team or better even without Burnett, and $16 million could be put to better use later this year (draft, free agency, trade)?
2. That this is NOT an 88-win team, and that Burnett couldn't make them one (so why spend the money on him)?
3. That Burnett can't duplicate his 2013 performance, so the state of the roster is irrelevant -- he's not worth anything.
4. The team is at or near its payroll limit, and even the increased chance at a postseason berth wouldn't justify the $16 million?


I'm not a Pirates fan, but in the Orioles/Burnett thread, I was thinking that the Pirates view was basically --

Burnett at 10-15 million is luxury they don't need. Granted, who knows if Liriano falls apart. Wandy almost certainly doesn't make 30 starts... BUT -- Cole had a fine year and will be around all year. They have Locke back.... and the next big arm - Taillon - more than likely gets a shot by May/June, if not out of spring training. They also have a couple of cheap, in-house options in Pimental, Oliver, and maybe Gomez... and also took a (albeit 5 million) flyer on Edison Volquez.

Add to that, the Pirates superb defense -- which ought to be just as good this year -- makes virtually all pitching look better.

Sure, on one hand -- you can never have too much starting pitching... but even at a single year, 15 million is a lot for a small market franchise to spend in an area where it thinks it has a surplus.

They still have a pretty stacked farm system -- so if needs be and the rotation falls apart -- they do have the capability to go out and get an SP midseason. Jeff Samardzija, for example, is almost certainly available and probably costs them something they can afford to move (like say, Luis Heredia).

If I'm the Pirates GM - I see my primary need as another bat and I have the good fortune of having a readily available LF/1B spot for him. The FA options just weren't there at the price you'd want.... and BTW - I know it was probably a nothing move, but I'd willing to place a longshot bet that Jaff Decker works himself into being an answer... if not, Polanco might be only a half season away. The only other spot I might look to upgrade would be SS - I wouldn't trust Mercer again - but there, you've got Hanson probably due sometime in 2015.

I'm sure actual Pirates fans might disagree with me and share the idea that this was a frustrating offseason (market side aside - try being a Cubs fan this offseason!), but I tend to like what the Pirates are doing... Surveying the FA signings -- the one thing I might have done is think long and hard about bringing Paul Maholm back... I mean - at less than half the price of Volquez and pitching in front of that defense? Maholm makes perfect sense. Of course, maybe he has a bitter taste from his time there and wouldn't even pick up the phone.

Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make -- this season might end up being a small step backwards, but I still think they're contenders even without Burnett and I likewise think that, unless several somethings go seriously wrong -- they ought to be the prohibitive favorites in 2015.

EDIT: Just to be clear - I'm, of course, putting a ton of faith into kids continuing and prospects meeting expectations... On one hand, that's a dangerous thing to think... but on the other, well... you gotta stick with your plan. I'm just saying that given their constraints, the only changes I'd have made to the pirates offseason would be either minor changes or nibbling around the edges.

   52. Canker Soriano Posted: February 12, 2014 at 09:30 PM (#4655952)
Mo was the last player born in the 60's to play MLB. Darren Oliver is officially the last player older than me to play ball, since he pitched 3 days after Mo's final appearance.

Oliver is my last one as well. I hope he comes back this year. Otherwise, I'll be officially closing the door on my hopes of making the majors.
   53. Bruce Markusen Posted: February 12, 2014 at 10:50 PM (#4655988)
Oliver has decided to retire. He recently worked a Rangers mini-camp as a coach.
   54. s.zielinski Posted: February 12, 2014 at 11:03 PM (#4656000)
The Pirates get younger. That's a sound strategy for them. Their farm system is too loaded with talented players to spend serious money on oldsters.
   55. Textbook Editor Posted: February 12, 2014 at 11:11 PM (#4656008)
The only other spot I might look to upgrade would be SS


I've wondered why the Pirates haven't kicked the tires on Drew. Granted, the same reasoning you apply for not re-signing Burnett applies to signing Drew, but he would represent a good bat upgrade and is steady with the glove.
   56. Walt Davis Posted: February 12, 2014 at 11:23 PM (#4656019)
Walt, he said to sit until the trade deadline because 5M ain't gonna make or break the team.

Fair enough. Depends a lot on the team. Given the Phils' age and lack of upper-level minors depth, I'd probably still go in the direction of deepening the ML roster. Mayberry's already on board so I'd stick with him but near as I can tell their backup IF are Frandsen (on a guaranteed $900,000 contract?) and Galvis so I'll stick with Punto or possibly switch to Ryan (better SS defense). They're also paying Wil Nieves over $1 M to be a 36-year-old backup C.

The balls-y answer is "I'd recommend using the $5 M to help cover any settlement required after firing Amaro."
   57. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 13, 2014 at 03:06 AM (#4656077)
Burnett was a good Yankee teammate, but he was under a lot of pressure, whether self induced or otherwise.


“he was just another guy in New York. He is not another guy in our clubhouse. He is our guy. … He has met the challenge and been up to it. He has been absolutely awesome.”


So which was it? He was a mostly anonymous starter among a team full of superstars in NY, then he goes to the Pirates where he's their de facto highest paid starter and staff ace, yet the pressure was in NY?

The Kenny Rogers shot tells you all you need to know about that article. Sports bloggers love to invent context based on small and biased sample sizes.

Burnett didn't struggle in NY because of "stuff" (or their awful defense, or the AL East + DH) going to Pittsburgh released all the pressure that he was crumbling under (nothing to do with a much better defense and NL lineups in an easier division with no DH).
   58. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 13, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4656148)
Oliver has decided to retire. He recently worked a Rangers mini-camp as a coach.


He's talking about Andy Oliver, not Buzz Oliver.

(I wouldn't want to count on anything from Oliver this year, given his command issues last season. That said, Brandon Cumpton and the notionally-healthy Phil Irwin and Kyle McPherson could probably be solid rotation-fillers, if needed.)

According to the P-G this morning, the Pirates' offer to Burnett was $12M.
   59. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 13, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4656149)
I've wondered why the Pirates haven't kicked the tires on Drew. Granted, the same reasoning you apply for not re-signing Burnett applies to signing Drew, but he would represent a good bat upgrade and is steady with the glove.


According to most of the projections, Drew isn't likely to be significantly better than Mercer next year, and giving up a draft pick makes it a bad idea. Draft picks are life for a team in a market the size of Pittsburgh.
   60. jmurph Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4656200)
Draft picks are life for a team in a market the size of Pittsburgh.


Seems to me that playoff runs are probably a lot more valuable than 25th overall picks. I'm not suggesting Drew, specifically, is or is not the guy, but I think it's fair to point out that Pittsburgh's approach to this offseason has been interesting.
   61. bobm Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4656204)
Burnett didn't struggle in NY because of "stuff" (or their awful defense, or the AL East + DH) going to Pittsburgh released all the pressure that he was crumbling under (nothing to do with a much better defense and NL lineups in an easir division with no DH).

The AL East explanation would make sense if Burnett hadn't actually pitched in the AL East for 3 seasons prior to joining the Yankees (and not face Yankee batters anymore.) Workload is maybe a more plausible non psychological explanation.

                                                               
Year   Age  Tm  Lg   G  GS     IP    BF ERA+ H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2006    29 TOR  AL  21  21  135.2   577  115 9.2  0.9  2.6  7.8
2007    30 TOR  AL  25  25  165.2   691  119 7.1  1.2  3.6  9.6
2008    31 TOR  AL  35  34  221.1   957  104 8.6  0.8  3.5  9.4

2009    32 NYY  AL  33  33  207.0   896  114 8.4  1.1  4.2  8.5
2010    33 NYY  AL  33  33  186.2   829   82 9.8  1.2  3.8  7.0
2011    34 NYY  AL  33  32  190.1   837   83 9.0  1.5  3.9  8.2

2012    35 PIT  NL  31  31  202.1   851  107 8.4  0.8  2.8  8.0
2013    36 PIT  NL  30  30  191.0   801  107 7.8  0.5  3.2  9.8


   62. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4656215)
Burnett's first year in NY was right in line with his career to that point. Then he lost a foot off his fastball. Then he went to an easier league and park, and maybe benefited from better defense. That's pretty much it.
   63. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4656243)
Looking at bobm's chart, since Burnett is going to a team with very suspect fielding - 1B, LF as bad as can be, a declining SS and 2B, a very suspect 3B (although I think Asche might be a little better than his rep based on his SSS improvement), and acceptable CF and RF, I guess we shouldn't get our hopes up too high.
   64. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4656244)
Seems to me that playoff runs are probably a lot more valuable than 25th overall picks.


With what the Pirates have on the farm right now, they're well-positioned to make playoff runs for the next four or five years. If they'd like to keep it going beyond that point, they need to keep their draft picks and use them wisely.

(Also, as noted previously, Mercer projects to be better than Drew next year, and forfeiting a draft pick to improve your short-term performance at UT IF is a pretty crazy idea.)
   65. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4656248)
Burnett's first year in NY was right in line with his career to that point. Then he lost a foot off his fastball. Then he went to an easier league and park, and maybe benefited from better defense. That's pretty much it.


He also started using his two-seamer more and focusing more heavily on ground balls.
   66. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4656254)
He also started using his two-seamer more and focusing more heavily on ground balls.


Yes, I suppose I should have thrown in "took a couple of years to adjust to losing a foot off his fastball."
   67. zonk Posted: February 13, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4656632)
Yeah, his K rate spiked -- and his HRs took a nosedive -- but I still think that the biggest reason Burnett returned to plusdom is because he was pitching in front of a really, really good defense.

Just beyond more hits turning into outs - it has to be good for a pitcher's confidence knowing he just needs to keep the ball in the park and not walk the world to be successful.

Like I said above, I think it's another big reason I wouldn't have matched this if I were the Pirates either... that defense isn't going anywhere.
   68. Bug Selig Posted: February 13, 2014 at 08:57 PM (#4656645)
42, it's really only money AND it will probably help to get higher ticket (and concession) sales at the Bank.

In any case, the Phillies have not lost any of their draft picks during this FA season. Whatever you may think of Marlon Byrd and A.J. Burnett, the rebuilding of the Philly farm system can continue unimpeded, and THAT is something to celebrate.

(Plus, if his contract allows it, Burnett could be flipped for some younger talent mid-season).


I have a very hard time believing that very many people are going to go to the ballpark because AJ is pitching. There may be some positive effect, but certainly not within ICBM range of break-even.

I would actually love to buy into your second point about avoiding any QO guys, but that implies that someone involved in the decision knows the Phillies are (or ought to be) looking to the future. I can't think of any evidence that this is true, other than the fact that their major inexplicable veteran signings have been non-QO inexplicable veteran signings. I will readily admit that I (and I don't believe that I'm an atypical BBTF user) have seen so little discernable intelligence on behalf of RAJ that I almost reflexively look for the WTF aspect of any Phillies move. In my defense, though, I've only been disappointed when Chase Utley has been involved.

The sign-and-flip is always a possibility. It pains me to think that a team who didn't think a year of Burnett was worth $16m would decide that half a year is worth $8m and a B prospect. But it happens, regardless of my pain:-)

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