Sean Burnett Will Decline Option

Sean Burnett's contract with the Nationals contains a $3.5MM mutual option for the 2013 season, but the left-hander is expected to decline his portion in hopes of securing a multi-year deal, according to's Bill Ladson. Burnett's decision doesn't necessarily spell the end of his time with the Nats. His "first priority," writes Ladson, is to return to the Nationals on a new contract.

Burnett signed a two-year, $3.95MM extension with Washington in December of 2010. He rewarded general manager Mike Rizzo with 113 1/3 innings of 3.10 ERA ball to go along with a 7.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and also picked up six saves. He was particularly effective this past season, tallying a 2.38 ERA with career-best marks of 9.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 57.4 percent ground-ball rate. Since the beginning of the 2011 season, only eight left-handers have topped Burnett's 139 relief appearances.

Burnett could look to multi-year deals given out to left-handed relievers over the past several years, perhaps targeting something in the two-year, $8-9MM range. Fellow southpaws Javier Lopez ($8.5MM), Pedro Feliciano ($8MM) and Hisanori Takahashi ($8MM) all signed for similar totals. Burnett could also look to recent extensions for Sean Marshall (three years, $16.5MM) and Glen Perkins (three years, $10.3MM), though Burnett hasn't been as dominant as either of that pair.

Burnett was originally acquired from the Pirates along with Nyjer Morgan in a trade that sent Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge to the Buccos. If and when Burnett declines his option, the Nationals will not have to pay him the $250K buyout they hold over their own half of the option.

Should he decides to entertain offers from other teams, the 30-year-old Burnett's combination of youth, effectiveness and durability will make him one of the top southpaw relievers on the free agent market.

18 Responses to Sean Burnett Will Decline Option Leave a Reply

  1. NYPOTENCE 3 years ago

    Looking back at it now it is clear that the Pirates won that trade by a long-shot. Huntington nearly robbed Rizzo of his pride and dignity with that trade.

    • $1529282 3 years ago

      Morgan put up four fWAR with the Nats, and Burnett has been a plenty durable reliever. Would they prefer to have Hanrahan still? Probably, but it’s far from the ridiculous fleecing you’re making it out to be.

      It’s not like we’re talking Napoli for Vernon Wells or anything here.

      • NYPOTENCE 3 years ago

        My intention was simply to state that the Pirates did win that trade.

    • Let_My_Cameron_Go 3 years ago

      When you get Lastings Milledge, you clearly win the trade…

    • FacelessGeneralManager 3 years ago

      Its far from robbery, Pirates win? Yes. But not in the way your making it seem

    • Natsfan89 3 years ago

      Not nearly as lopsided as you’re making it out to be. Hanrahan was a headcase who was afraid to throw his fastball when he played for the Nationals. Needed a change of scenery.

      • NYPOTENCE 3 years ago

        The Pirates were able to maximize Hanrahan’s value while the Nationals were not able to. Hanrahan has been one of the majors’ lights-out closers since joining the Pirates and while Burnett and Morgan were somewhat productive with the Nationals their value does not come close to matching that of Hanrahan.

        • Natsfan89 3 years ago

          Glad it worked out so well for the Pirates. Obviously that was the move that showed Huntington is twice the GM Rizzo is since it vaulted the Pirates into playoff contention!

          Oh wait lol no it didn’t…

          • BradyAndersonsSideburns 3 years ago

            Not every team can pick the two best possible years to finish with the worst record in the league so they can get the two biggest can’t-miss prospects in years

          • FS54 3 years ago

            Yeah, that was definitely by design. Nationals knew Strasburg and Harper will develop in elite talents so they sucked enough to draft these two back to back. Rizzo deserves Executive of the Decade award if there is one.

          • Natsfan89 3 years ago

            Because Strasburg and Harper are the only two players Mike Rizzo has ever drafted/signed/or traded for and were the only reason the Nationals went from an 80-81 team to the best record in baseball in one year…

  2. ugotrpk3113 3 years ago

    I’d like to see him come to Boston. We could use some quality BP pieces, especially LHP. Tired of waiting on Hill.

    • dc21892 3 years ago

      The pen is actually a strong part of the team. The overall numbers were skewed by a rough start, but after that they turned it around. I agree he would be a nice addition, though. You can NEVER have enough quality arms.

  3. crashcameron 3 years ago

    wow. Takahashi for $8M! classic Angels bullpen signing. how many millions have they wasted? see Speier, Justin, etc

  4. DerangedAngry Hilbilly 3 years ago

    no team should ever pay over $6mill for a reliever. Maybe the rare 3WAR closer, but most relief arms are too volatile and unpredictable in their production to warrant that much $$$.

  5. FS54 3 years ago

    I would have preferred to see the article mention some alternatives for Nationals in case Burnett signs with another team. I wonder if Affeldt an option.

  6. daveineg 3 years ago

    Burnett joins J P Howell and Jeremy Affeldt as lefty relievers that will interest the Brewers.

  7. NYPOTENCE 3 years ago

    Burnett would be nice but I would look to see if there were some better options out in the market. A lefty who could retire both righties and lefties would be a pleasant commodity.

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