Phillies Sign A.J. Burnett

SUNDAY, 9:27am: Burnett's player option for 2015, which starts at $7.5MM, could potentially reach $12.75MM, reports Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. 

8:56am: Burnett can also earn $1.75MM in performance bonuses each year, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  

8:34am: Burnett's 2014 salary is actually $15MM, though it will come out to $16MM if the Phillies exercise his $1MM buyout, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). If the option is exercised, he'll earn $15MM in '15.  If the team declines, he can trigger a $7.5MM option for '15. His limited no-trade protection will allow the veteran to name nine teams that he can be traded to (link).

8:03am: The Phillies announced the deal.  Within the press release, the Phillies disclosed that the deal includes a mutual/player option for 2015, performance and award bonuses, and a limited no-trade clause.

WEDNESDAY, 6:53pm: The contract may actually include a player option for 2015, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, who explains that the final details are still being negotiated.

4:51pm: The deal includes a mutual option for 2015 as well as a limited no-trade clause, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. The option value has not yet been reported.

10:53am: The Phillies have agreed to a one-year, $16MM deal with A.J. Burnett, reports Hayden Balgavy of THV 11 in Arkansas (Twitter links). Burnett is represented by Frontline Athlete Management.

Burnett-AJ-2

Burnett's future was shrouded in mystery for much of the offseason, as he took considerably longer than originally expected to determine whether he would pitch in 2014 or retire. He said near season's end that he was "50-50" on the decision and added that if he pitched again, he would do so in a Pirates' uniform. Clearly that line of thinking changed, perhaps when Pittsburgh declined to make him a $14.1MM qualifying offer. Given his $16MM guarantee from the Phillies, it's also possible that the Pirates simply knew they wouldn't be able to afford Burnett (that would explain their early signing of Edinson Volquez). Burnett earned $16.5MM in 2013, but Pittsburgh was only on the hook for $8MM of that total, as the Yankees paid a large portion of his salary when trading him to the Pirates prior to the 2012 campaign.

In Pittsburgh, Burnett revitalized a career that looked to be on its downswing following the second and third seasons of a five-year, $82.5MM contract he signed with the Yankees in the 2008-09 offseason. Burnett posted a 5.20 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 3777 innings from 2010-11 with New York, prompting GM Brian Cashman to trade him to Pittsburgh in exchange for salary relief and a pair of marginal prospects (Exicardo Cayones and Diego Moreno).

The Pirates paid Burnett just $13MM from 2012-13 and were rewarded for their leap of faith, as Burnett turned in an outstanding 3.41 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 393 1/3 innings. His ground-ball rate soared to 56.7 percent in that two-year span, tying him with Justin Masterson for the second-best mark in all of baseball among qualified starters (Trevor Cahill was first).

While it's a surprise to see the Phillies sign Burnett, it's not a surprise to see general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. swing a deal that few would have anticipated early in the offseason. Amaro himself said early on that he would try to be creative in seeking significant upgrades that few would expect. This isn't the first time he's inked an unexpected free agent either. When Cliff Lee signed his five-year, $125MM contract in Philadelphia, most of the baseball world was anticipating that he would end up with either the Yankees or the Rangers.

Burnett will add to a Phillies rotation that is fronted by Lee and Cole Hamels, slotting in as a strong No. 3 option behind that pair of ace-caliber southpaws. Kyle Kendrick should hold down the fourth slot, while fellow offseason signee Roberto Hernandez and Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonazlez figure to battle for the final spot in manager Ryne Sandberg's rotation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


182 Responses to Phillies Sign A.J. Burnett Leave a Reply

  1. FS54 1 year ago

    ugh, I thought they were out. Wish Nats could have signed him! I had my bullpen and depth all worked out with AJ’s signing.

  2. charles 1 year ago

    and boom goes the dynimate

  3. twins33 1 year ago

    Without knowing the dollars, this is probably a great deal. If it’s for 16M or less than it’s definitely a great deal. I would have loved him on the Twins, but I knew that was not going to happen.

    • Meh Sheep 1 year ago

      Report is that it is for 16M.

      • twins33 1 year ago

        Thanks. Good deal. It’s what he’s worth in my opinion, not an overpay.

    • SocraticGadfly 1 year ago

      It’s horrible. His 2013 was a fluke, His 2.8 FIP was the only time in his career he’s
      been below 3.1 Can you say “regression”?

      • twins33 1 year ago

        Even if he regressed to 2012 level of production, I wouldn’t call it “horrible.” He’d, to me, then be overpaid by a couple million dollars, but it wouldn’t be horrible. If he puts up 4 ERA with 4 FIP then yeah, it would be horrible.

        For what he’s done in the last two seasons combined, he’s worth his paycheck. He has to repeat similar production to either of those seasons though. I’m confident he could put up 2012 numbers again, but it’s never a guarantee. The bigger issue is, how much will the move from the Pirates to the Phillies hurt him? The Phils are a worse team and it’s a less friendly ballpark. He’ll take a hit, but I don’t think 2012 numbers are completely out of the question.

  4. Guest 1 year ago

    O’s Magic prevails again. We should have thrown $20M to Burnett on a 1 year deal.

  5. Chioakcisco 1 year ago

    This might make Burnett the youngest guy on the team.

    • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 1 year ago

      the only thing older than the Phillies roster is jokes about how old they are.

      • BraveCrowe 1 year ago

        Judging by the upvotes its gotten, still seems pretty popular.

      • ziggy13 1 year ago

        That makes no sense though seeing as the jokes about the Phillies being old wouldn’t start until the Phillies were old

  6. James O'Donnell 1 year ago

    But he’s only 37. You have to assume this was their back-up plan once they realized they couldn’t convince Jamie Moyer to make a comeback.

    • FS54 1 year ago

      Moyer was their original back-up plan to Old Hoss who likes his own twitter account too much to pitch again.

      • kcmark 1 year ago

        Actually Nolan Ryan was first on the Phillies wish-list, but the Astros beat them to it.

        • Ben Pope 1 year ago

          actually Sandy Koufax was first on the Phillies list lol.

    • b-rar 1 year ago

      They stashed Jamie in the broadcast booth in case of emergency.

      • connfyoozed . 1 year ago

        And, worst case scenario… they stashed Matt Stairs, too. I think I remember Stairs getting to pitch once in a blowout.

  7. Angela Marie Greenawalt 1 year ago

    Phillies you can thank the Bucs for being so damn cheap!!

  8. BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 1 year ago

    Ruben Amaro made a move that I can’t criticize… what am I going to do with my life?!?!

  9. PhillyYank 1 year ago

    Like pouring gasoline on a fire…

  10. Muhamed Mashkulli 1 year ago

    The Phillies make me confused

  11. The_Porcupine 1 year ago

    So does this push the player formerly known as Fausto out of the rotation or does it put Gonzalez into the minors? The team is still old and prone to breaking down, but this definitely makes them a contending team for a wild card. I’d still like to see them add an arm to the bullpen and a part time outfielder though.

    • Phillyfan425 1 year ago

      MAG (Gonzalez) could go to the pen. IMO, it’s the best move. He’s on an MLB contract. You know what he can do against AAA talent (I’d equate Cuban talent to AAA), and his contract is “friendly” enough to be ok in the pen for a year.

      • The_Porcupine 1 year ago

        To counter, I know what Hernandez can do if given a starting gig (close to a whole lot of nothing). Gonzalez at least gives upside.

        • Phillyfan425 1 year ago

          Hernandez is a SABR dream. He looked improved last year (if you go by everything except his ERA). What killed him last year was his HR/FB rate (over 20%!). While he’s moving to a more hitter-friendly park, I cant imagine it stays that high again (his career rate is 13%). If that comes down – even to about 15% – I’d say he can put up respectable numbers for a #5 pitcher.

          I think a lot will also depend on how MAG pitches in camp.

        • Phillies_Aces35 1 year ago

          Gonzalez hasn’t pitched in two years on a regular basis, he’s not ready for a full season workload I would imagine. He’s going to be on an innings limit so might as well start him in the pen and build him up like the Braves did with Medlen a few years ago.

    • Dave Traverso 1 year ago

      Hopefully Pettibone pushes Former Fausto out of the rotation, the guy is brutal

  12. UltimateYankeeFan 1 year ago

    I’m kind of surprised that he didn’t decide to go back to the Pirates. He pitched well in Pittsburgh and to be honest the Pirates are a much better team then the Phillies will be in 2014. I guess they may well have offered him more money and it was just more enticing for Burnett.

    We’ll see if he has the same success in Philadelphia, considering it’s a much friendlier hitters park than Pittsburgh.

    • Lionel Bossman Craft 1 year ago

      It’s crazy you say that since it seems just yesterday Philly was dominate and everyone penciled them to win the World Series and make the playoffs for years to win when they got Cliff Lee, Halladay, Oswalt and Hunter Pence. The Pirates on the other side of the coin were at the bottom of the NL. Talk about role reversal.

    • rct 1 year ago

      Philly is closer to Burnett’s home than Pittsburgh is, just a short drive down I-95 (barring traffic, of course).

      • UltimateYankeeFan 1 year ago

        True but Camden Yards (Orioles) is closer yet. Although Burnett might have had some difficulty passing the O’s physical.

      • LazerTown 1 year ago

        And they gave him enough money where he can afford the $20 in tolls.

      • kcmark 1 year ago

        And the $16MM should help with paying all of the tolls.

        • Zak Arn 1 year ago

          I don’t know… Tolls will go up after the 100 car pile up this past week & law suits that’ll surely pop up over the speed limit mishap.

    • Catztradamus 1 year ago

      when a guy stops throwing a cutter, increses his sinker % and develops a change up as an out pitch and consistently for two years increases his ground ball profile from 39 to 56% park factors don’t mean jack.

      Burnett is a different pitcher. It had nothing to do with pitching in Pittsburgh.

  13. Paulie Corleone 1 year ago

    Have fun with near league worst defense behind you pitching in the park with the highest HR Factor last year….

    Usually you hear about an athlete that just wants to win at all costs, Burnett is clearly the opposite.

    You chase those dollars AJ

    • The_Porcupine 1 year ago

      He wants to be near his home in Maryland. You decide which is closer to contending between the Orioles and Phillies.

      • Paulie Corleone 1 year ago

        His choice, of course

        That’s why I said to have fun

      • dilbert719 1 year ago

        To be perfectly honest, and it pains me to say this as a Phillies fan, the Pirates may closer than either.

      • bandits33 1 year ago

        Orioles, not really close.

    • PhilsFan 1 year ago

      I think the HR rate had more to do with the bad pitching.

      And you don’t think he could have got more money going anywhere else? Come on.

      • Paulie Corleone 1 year ago

        If the reports are true, I would say $16m would be near the top of the market for him

        • PhilsFan 1 year ago

          He could have got a multi-year deal. He wouldn’t have limited his choices to teams in the east if he only cared about money.

      • SocraticGadfly 1 year ago

        No, I don’t think he could have gotten more money elsewhere. His 2013 was a fluke, His 2.8 FIP was the only time in his career he’s
        been below 3.1. I expect some serious regression from Burnett this year.

    • Phillyfan425 1 year ago

      The “leagues worst defense” was helped along by the Young “brothers” last year (Michael at 3rd and Delmon in RF). While they’re not an amazing defense now, I’d say they’re about the middle of the pack. And the HR factor had to do with the sludge that they called up in August/September.

    • How dare someone with two World Series rings (albeit he didn’t play in one) think about money. It’s almost like these guys have families they want to ensure they can fully support with complete certainty. Money isn’t everything, but you can seldom blame a guy for taking more money to go elsewhere.

    • JamieFC 1 year ago

      Obviously he’s chasing dollars. How naive can you get. Professional sports is just a business. Ninety-nine per cent of pro athletes will go where they make the most money. AJ already won a ring with Florida. He’s just going to pitch until he is no longer effective and get paid millions to do it and I don’t knock him for it.

    • Catztradamus 1 year ago

      again, not sure how a 56% GB rate from a 48% GB rate and a 37% FB rate to a 24% FB rate while continuing to put up around A 10-12% hr/fb rate makes the park factors relevant

  14. AmericanMovieFan 1 year ago

    How the heck does Burnett keep getting $15MM+ per season!? If it really is for $16MM then wow…

    • PhilsFan 1 year ago

      Scott Feldman got 30 million and 3 years. Pitching is expensive.

    • Seamaholic 1 year ago

      That’s only 2.5 WAR. AJ can do that in his sleep.

      • Meh Sheep 1 year ago

        AJ Burnett has only had 3 seasons in his career where his WAR was 2.5 or higher: 2009 = 4.4, 2005 = 3.4, 2002 = 4.0. His WAR for the last 4 years: 2013 = 1.7, 2012 = 2.2, 2011 = 0.8, 2010 = -0.8. So odds are it won’t be 2.5 or greater for 2014 sleeping or awake.

        • Phillyfan425 1 year ago

          Difference of WAR. If you look at his rWAR, you’re right. His fWAR though, he’s been above 2.5 in 4 of the last 6 seasons (with 10 and 11 in NY the 2 seasons he was below it).

          • psabella 1 year ago

            Great thing those statistics. There is a statistic for most anyone to show how good or bad any player is in the same sentence.

      • SocraticGadfly 1 year ago

        His 2013 was a fluke, His 2.8 FIP was the only time in his career he’s
        been below 3.1. On WAR? I’d be surprised if he has more than 1.5 this year. In fact, I expect him to be 1.2, or maybe even lower.

    • Nah__Roots 1 year ago

      Welcome to the pitching market.

    • Steve Adams 1 year ago

      Burnett’s numbers over the past two seasons are well worth $16MM.

  15. Phillyfan425 1 year ago

    Very good move (especially with Hamels “missing” Opening Day – although it sounds like he’ll still pitch the first week). On one year deals, age isn’t an issue (especially for a guy coming off two of his better seasons). As long as he does what he did the last two years (K/9 over 8 and GB% above 50%) he should continue to be successful.

  16. jury_rigger 1 year ago

    $16 million down the drain, geriatric Phils wont compete

    • daveineg 1 year ago

      Have to agree with that assessment. On the bright side, he’s another guy they could move in July to get younger. Burnett’s going to find going out that the p in PNC, stands for pitching and there is no p in Citizen’s.

  17. Chiburgh 1 year ago

    With Cole Hamels behind schedule and not being ready for opening day, the Phillies stepped in and upped their offer to AJ. Deal got done.

    Philly isn’t NY, but they have some tough fans.

  18. Dave Pierce 1 year ago

    I never once believed he would retire, and never once believed it was Pirates or bust. Sure wish the Pirates played the Phillies more, it’s one of the biggest gaffes in baseball, an inter-state rivalry that only sees a handful of games due to separate divisions… This would have only made it a little more fun. See you in July, AJ. Thanks for 2 great years…

  19. alexamato 1 year ago

    wow crazy. good move Amaro!

  20. sflomenb 1 year ago

    Yes!! Great signing.

  21. Phillies_Aces35 1 year ago

    Solid signing. Gives them a solid 1-2-3 once Hamels gets back. Definitely makes them contenders for a Wild Card spot in my mind.

    • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

      It also takes the pressure off Miguel A. Gonzalez to step in as a #3 starter.

    • Monk81 1 year ago

      In the off chance that Howard, Rollins, Papelbon and Chooch turn back the clock, Utley stays healthy, Byrd isn’t a mirage, Revere does a 2003 Juan Pierre impersonation, Brown make the leap and Hamels and Lee pitch full seasons in top form, yes this signing does put the Phillies on the edge of WC contention.

  22. philly_435 1 year ago

    I don’t know how I feel about this

    • Dave Traverso 1 year ago

      It’s a one year deal, it’s not your money and he’s a legitimate #3 starter. What’s not to like?

  23. connfyoozed . 1 year ago

    Good move for AJ, good move for the Phillies… and not a bad result for the Pirates. They didn’t want to pay him $16 million/year, and frankly they shouldn’t pay him that based on their current budget and needs. As a Pirate fan, I would have loved to have him back, but I am OK with this. If Philly had signed him for less than what his qualifying offer would have been ($14 million, I think), then I would have been upset. Best of luck AJ, you were a clutch performer and clubhouse leader who will be missed in Pittsburgh.

  24. Eddie Edwards 1 year ago

    Way to go Pirates. Good job not offering AJ a qualifying offer. Good job letting him leave for another team. Great offseason.

    • twins33 1 year ago

      Yeah, that seemed like a big mistake. If they get him for 14M, it’s a slight discount. Plus, he’s been good. He’s actually worth the 16M that the Phillies are paying him. If he leaves, they would have had a pick.

      I don’t get it. If they offered, It seems like a win-win no matter what happened. A previous MLBTR post seems to suggest it may have been a money issue for the Pirates. Even if he turned down a QO offer, what discount price did they expect him to re-sign for? He definitely wasn’t getting less than 12M.

      Seems like it would have been best for them to just say, we don’t want him rather than saying all along they were waiting on him and his decision.

      • Meh Sheep 1 year ago

        Probably would have had to take less than 12M if he had a draft pick attached to him.

        • twins33 1 year ago

          I doubt it. He didn’t seem like a multiple year type player (if he was seriously contemplating retiring). In my opinion, I think a ton of teams would pay a lot of money to whoever as long as it’s only one year. The player has to be good, obviously, but one year is nothing. The Pirates, and all/most teams, are getting 25M this year in revenue sharing for the national tv deal. Have the Pirates even done anything this offseason or did they just pocket that?

          Now it would hurt to lose a pick for a guy you only get for one year, but that’s it. And for some teams, that may be a huge deal, but I highly doubt he’d have to take less than 12 even with pick compensation. That I know of, he’s been better than Garza (no pick), he’s been better than Ubaldo (probably debatable), better than Santana.

          He is legitimately worth 15-16M per, pick or no pick.

      • rct 1 year ago

        Your scenario only works if the Pirates were willing to spend $14MM to retain him. They weren’t, and I don’t necessarily blame them.

        • twins33 1 year ago

          When you consider that he’s worth 16M and he ended up getting that exact amount, I’m not sure why they weren’t willing to do it.

          In my opinion, they messed up in terms of money. They were given 25M this year, but have spent only 7M of it (that I know of). I’m not saying you HAVE to spend that money, but some of that money helps you retain AJ.

          Really, my issue is with their comments all offseason. They had said all offseason that they were waiting on AJ. If you weren’t willing to give him 14M, less than he’s worth, than why even make the comments? They had zero intention of signing him. Did they actually think he’d take 12M or 10M or 8M? It wasn’t going to happen. He was not signing for cheap with anyone because someone out there was going to give him market rate or near it. And that someone became the Phillies.

          • rct 1 year ago

            They’re a small market team. I agree that if you’re the Phillies, this is a good move. But signing Burnett to a $14MM deal would make him the Pirates’ highest paid player by far and would have been a $5.5MM salary increase. It’s just not how they do business, and considering their success last year, I wouldn’t second-guess them.

            And also, ‘what he’s worth’ is a nebulous value. His worth is not an exact science, especially when you consider his age.

    • TheTruth 1 year ago

      The Pirates didn’t have $14 million to spend. If they made a qualifying offer to him, he would have likely accepted it. And even if he didn’t, the low budget Pirates couldn’t take that chance. Huntington knows what he’s doing. He’s one of the best in the game.

    • daveineg 1 year ago

      The Pirates were likely to take a step back whether they had Burnett or not. They are waiting on Polanco and Taillon and they’re not quite ready.

  25. WNYMetsfan03 1 year ago

    Can’t wait, hopefully when the Mets come to CBP Gee pitches against A.J. and we have ourselves a Homerun Derby.

    • rct 1 year ago

      Of the 96 MLB pitchers who pitched 150+ innings last year, AJ Burnett had the 6th best HR/9 ratio (0.52/9 innings). Gee was slightly below average at 51st. Not sure what you’re going on about.

      • WNYMetsfan03 1 year ago

        Gee is always good for a HR in Philly, and I imagine Burnett will give up a couple more than he did at PNC. I’m a fan of Gee, and I like the deal for Philly.

        I will be watching this summer and I could imagine a slugfest at CBP when these teams meet.

  26. levdog 1 year ago

    Formidable starting rotation led by 2 #1 pitchers. Could the Phillies be the surprise team in the N.L. East. Howard has had an extra year to get healthy and it would not surprise me that the Phillies are much better then expected and contend in the east.

    • philly_435 1 year ago

      Exactly

    • Dave Traverso 1 year ago

      I hope, but Howard needs to improve his work ethic and knowledge of the strike zone before you can expect him to be any better than a .250 hitter with 25 bombs (at most)

    • TheRealRyan 1 year ago

      I thought that too at first, but after looking closer I think they would need a lot of breaks. While their SP 1-3 are really good, the back end is ok at best. They are poor defensively in the corners and the majority of their premium defenders are getting older and have been declining defensively. When looking at their offense, a lot of their guys seem scared of taking a walk and make a lot of outs.

      Overall, they look like an 80-82 win team that is pretty old. Maybe if several of the aging vets can catch lightning in a bottle, they win 84-86 and have a shot. Realistically, I feel like they more likely will struggle with injuries and finish with 78-80 wins.

      • levdog 1 year ago

        Cody Asche the expected starting 3rd baseman will be much better defensively then Michael Young last year and Marlon Byrd in right field will be vastly superior to Delmon Young. You are right that they were terrible last year in taking walks, but part of that could have been Charlie Manuels influence. I expect Ryan Howard to have a 35/100 RBI year and Jimmy Rollins to rebound from 2013 when his power numbers fell off the cliff. I expect their bullpen which was one of the worst in the league will be much improved, The key comes down to Howard. If he stays healthy and has a decent year watch out for this team.

  27. TL 1 year ago

    Pirates not making the QO was one of the biggest mistakes of the offseason ONLY if this was purely a monetary decision. I don’t think it was. I think issues in the clubhouse were just as important in their decision, right or wrong.

  28. Brian 1 year ago

    There is a battle for not last in the NL East and the Phillies are gearing up for it.

  29. Baloo 1 year ago

    This is a solid signing by the Phils to shore up that #4 spot in their rotation. Hamels, Lee, Kendrick, Burnett, and Gonzalez. Better than having Hernandez start at all in your rotation.

    • Phillyfan425 1 year ago

      KK is definitely not #3. He was their 3 by necessity. He’ll slide to 4 now. And with Hamels missing opening day, they might just line it up Lee, AJ, Hamels, KK, and have a competition in spring for the 5th spot (between MAG, Roberto, and Pettibone). With one of the losers going to AAA and the other possibly to the pen.

  30. LetsGoBucs92122 1 year ago

    It is disappointing to see Burnett sign with the Phillies. I was hoping to see him in a Buccos uniform again next year, but I understand the Pirates not wanting to pay $14+mil for him. I don’t blame Burnett for signing with Philly though – even closer to his house and more cash.

    • Cubstein 1 year ago

      Even if they couldn’t afford the 14 million, if he had accepted the 14 million they could have turned around and traded him and gotten 2 million in value for him.

  31. Allen in SC 1 year ago

    You can tell he didn’t want to pitch against the very best in the AL East, (and given his track record in that division I guess not) so he signs with another NL team to collect yet another big payday.

  32. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

    I guess AJ meant Ill only pitch for the Pirates unless another east coast NL team will give me more money…

  33. I don’t fault AJ for taking a big money deal, but this whole “Pirates or retire” thing was obnoxious of him. The Pirates paid him 8 million last year. Don’t say you’ll play for them or retire if you will in fact play for someone else for a lot of money.

    • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

      What does the Pirates paying him $8 million last year have to do with anything? Remember that at the same time Pittsburgh was paying him $8 mil to pitch for them, the Yankees were paying Burnett $8.5 mil not to pitch for them.

      • It means that Burnett would have to have taken a substantial pay cut in order to stay. The Pirates weren’t never going to pay him 16 million. There’s no way of knowing that they were willing to offer, but one would think it would be less than 14 million or they would’ve offered the QO.

        So when Burnett said Pirates or retire, he should’ve known that that would’ve meant that he would make far less than what he made in 2013. Money had to have been at least part of the issue or he would be back with the Bucs.

        • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

          Maybe, maybe not. It’s safe to assume that money is an issue with the Pirates anytime it’s for a higher profile player. However, there were a number of stories that came out after the season was over that Burnett’s stock fell with Pittsburgh. He allegedly threw a temper tantrum in the clubhouse when told he wouldn’t start a playoff game and was not supporting the younger members of Pittsburgh’s pitching staff after he had agreed to give them some veteran guidance. It’s quite possible that Pittsburgh wouldn’t have made the QO after all things are considered. Money might very well have become a secondary issue with Burnett if you believe the reports from clubhouse reporters and beat writers out of Steel City.

          • I know the stories, though the repeated “Pirates or retire” after the season along with the long period before he was “available” suggest that returning was always a strong possibility.

            There might have been a difference of opinion regarding what the QO meant for Burnett and the Bucs FO. Burnett might have seen it as an easy way to solve his contract situation while the Bucs were unsure as to whether or not paying six million more for Burnett’s services was a thing they wanted to do. I bet AJ would’ve accepted the offer and that the Pirates didn’t think they could afford 14 million dollar Burnett.

        • kcmark 1 year ago

          The “Pirates or retire” statement was strategic- so that the Pirates would not make a QO and kill his potential market.

  34. Jim Waddle 1 year ago

    Ehh…. good riddance

    I never believed his promises of “Pittsburgh or retirement.” After his terrible playoff perfomance and subsequent benching… he was never going to come back.

  35. MDPensFan 1 year ago

    Instead of a veteran presence and the NL’s leader in K/9 ratio for $14.1 million (or a comp pick), we get god-awful Volquez for $5 million and a big leap of faith. Good job Bucs.

    • Todd Smith 1 year ago

      Almost like that time they traded for god-awful AJ Burnett for $8 million and a big leap of faith.

      • MDPensFan 1 year ago

        Are you seriously comparing Edinson Volquez to Burnett? Is this Neal Huntington?

        • Todd Smith 1 year ago

          AJ Burnett the season before he joined the Pirates:
          5.15 ERA, 4.77 FIP, 1.1 WAR, 8.18 K/9, 3.92 BB/9, 1.47 HR/9, 49.2 GB%, .294 BABIP

          Edinson Volquez the season before he joined the Pirates:
          5.71 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 0.4 WAR, 7.50 K/9, 4.07 BB/9, 1.00 HR/9, 47.6 GB%, .325 BABIP

          Will Ray Searage be able to work the same magic he did with Burnett and Liriano with Volquez? That remains to be seen, and it’s not nearly as important if he doesn’t as Volquez is the #6 pitcher in the rotation depth chart anyway – #7 once Taillon is ready.

          The point is, fans hated the AJ Burnett and the Francisco Liriano acquisitions every bit as much as the Volquez signing. Seems pretty silly to sit in the corner and pout about the Pirates taking on another reclamation project. It’s extremely silly to complain about taking on a reclamation project and complain about losing a reclamation project at the same time.

    • daveineg 1 year ago

      Bucs are wise to be pointing to 2015 and 2016 anyway. Last year was a bonus. They’re a year or two away.

  36. b-rar 1 year ago

    Smart of them to swoop in before the Yankees gave him $20MM with a player option.

  37. livingpaint 1 year ago

    i think its funny cause someone on the “Roy Oswalt Retires” board called this :-)

  38. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

    Not sure how well AJ will do in Philly, he resurrected his career in Pittsburg after throwing a lot more 2 seam FB and getting a lot more groundballs. Philly’s infield is not going to handle those groundballs nearly as well as Pittsburg’s did.

    • Todd Smith 1 year ago

      I’ll be interested to see how Sandberg handles him when AJ throws his tantrums in the dugout after getting pulled from a game.

  39. Danny Phillips 1 year ago

    Damn, would have liked to see him as a National, and he went to a division rival. Though can’t justify paying that much for a 5th starter when they have in house comparables.

  40. LazerTown 1 year ago

    Really should have extended that QO. Was very solid 2 years with the pirates.

    • burnboll 1 year ago

      Yes, a very valuable piece. Pirates whiffed on this one.

  41. sourbob 1 year ago

    Age jokes are hilarious and all, but the Phils just signed a terrific starting pitcher coming off two good seasons to a market value one year deal. How can that be bad no matter what his age is? This move probably moves the Phils from a .500-ish team with an outside shot at contending for a wild card slot to a wild card team with an outside shot at contending for the NL East crown.

    There is nothing not to like about this.

    • Baseball Realism 1 year ago

      His track record gives you tons of reasons not to like this.

    • daveineg 1 year ago

      It’s a pretty weak division. Atlanta is strong contender for WC because they get so many games against the Fish, Mets and Phils. Might this give Phils a boost? Sure but I’d say they are at best a .500ish team.

      • burnboll 1 year ago

        I like pretty much all team in the division except the Phillies this year.

        I think Atlanta will be just as good as last year, and Washington is likely to improve to be one of the best teams in mlb.

        Those two will duke it out for the win.

        I think Miami will be pretty good this year, close to .500.

        And the mets, I really like as a coming team. I think they can get just right behind Miami.

        Phillies on the other hand… Nothing points to them being better than last year.

        Byrd had a career year as a 35 year old, doubt he’ll repeat or improve on that.

        Then it’s mostly same old same old.

        I predict 70 wins for the Phillies.

        • John P. Skudris Jr. 1 year ago

          The Mets and Marlins?

          How could the Phillies not be better than last year when they fielded a lineup that included the likes of Delmon Young, John Mayberry, Michael Martinez, Michael “DP” Young, Darin Ruf, Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez, and Erik Kratz for much of the season. Or the fact that they had guys like Luis Garcia (who was working at a barber shop two years ago) as key late inning relievers?

          The Phillies are getting Ryan Howard back (and improvement over the garbage they had at 1st all season), Cody Asche for a full season, and just improved their pitching staff. To say that they’re no better than last year just proves that you’re another biased, Philadelphia hating troll.

          • burnboll 1 year ago

            You seems to be Counting on bounce back from pretty much most of the lineup.

            Sorry bro, I don’t buy it.

            All the other teams have improved, arguably you could say Atlanta is stalling. But the rest of the division are quite clearly going to be improved.

            I love me some Curtis Grandy and I think Miami has a lineup much better than what people give them credit for.

            I’m willing to bet with anyone that Marlins will be better than the Phillies.

            If you are right and the Marlins are finishing behind I will at the end of the season make a post here saying you are smarter than me.

            But if I am right, you are mandated to do the same about me.

        • raltongo 1 year ago

          I think its safe to say that you have probably never seen a team from the NL East play baseball

  42. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

    I wonder if he got a no trade clause, if he plays well and Phillies are out of contention come June he looks like a prime trade candidate. AJ is not going to like that.

    • steelparrot 1 year ago

      Gotta be a no trade clause and even if there isnt, he can leak rumors of retiring if traded to kill any trade activity.

      • BCleveland3381 1 year ago

        If Burnett got 16 mil, there’s no way the Phils gave him a no trade clause too.

  43. monroe_says 1 year ago

    If there was any doubt that the Phillies could possibly finish in 3rd place in the NL East, those concerns have been laid to rest.

  44. Damon Bowman 1 year ago

    One other thing that many are overlooking is Burnett’s position in Philly. In Pittsburgh he would have been expected to be the veteran leader (something he’s not so good at) on a staff that looked to him for guidance and so on. In Philly, he’s no better than the #3 behind Lee & Hamels and can simply show up to do his job of keeping the team in games until the offense clicks. If he can survive when the weather gets warmer in Citizens Bank when the ball starts flying out, he’ll do well. On the other hand, if he starts serving up gopher balls, it could be a long summer in South Philly.

  45. BCleveland3381 1 year ago

    What a terrible signing. Phils could have signed Nelson Cruz and Bronson Arroyo for the same price they paid for Marlon Byrd and Burnett, and probably gotten better production from both spots.

    • burnboll 1 year ago

      I wouldn’t call it terrible, as Burnett will likely be a valuable pitcher for the Phillies.

      But it’s a mind boggling signing. Burnett would be a much better fit. With a team that can actually contend for a playoff spot,

      Phillies are most likely gonna finish last.

      • raltongo 1 year ago

        finish last? not a chance dude

        • lt michaels 1 year ago

          Last year stats. Byrd 28 HR,Dom Brown 27 HR, Ryan Howard and Utley both appear to be 100%.Hamels,Lee,Burnett one the games best 1-2-3 punch. If Mike Adams and Papelbon can give you any kind of production the Phillies may surprise.

  46. Jeff Fisher 1 year ago

    I don’t think you guys see the big picture. AJ Burnett knew that if he had a draft pick connected to his name nobody will sign him. So what does he do? He tells the pirates that hes retiring, so they don’t make an qualifying offer. Now that hes off the hook, he “suddenly” decides hes not done yet. Do you really think Phillies would have signed him for 1 year if it cost them a draft pick? Well played Mr. Burnett.

    • evanwins 1 year ago

      Well, technically the Phillies 1st round draft pick was protected as they finished with the tenth worst record. And second, the QO wouldn’t have hurt Pittsburgh in any way. If they make it and he retires they lose nothing; if they make it and he accepts they got a pretty good deal on a very good starting pitcher; and if they make it and he declines they get an extra draft pick.

      Burnett’s saying he was going to retire shouldn’t have affected them in any way.

      • MrAwesome 1 year ago

        Exactly. The Phillies only would’ve given up their 2nd round pick had they signed Burnett. It was highly doubtful AJ wanted to return as a Pirate.

        Money always talks. Burnett’s “I’ll be a Pirate or retire” rings very hollow.

  47. antsal 1 year ago

    Not to sound negative before spring training, since at this point every team’s fans think they have a shot, but this deal seems to be a win-win for the Phillies. If the Phillies are out of it at the deadline, they will be pretty popular around the league with Lee (50 mil remaining salary come July), Burnett (8 mil), Papelbon (20 mil) and perhaps Byrd (12 mil) to trade. That’s one way to re-stock the farm system and shave millions off the luxury tax. If they were able to move these 4 players that will only leave them with about 74 million guaranteed dollars coming into 2015 and a stocked farm system. Just another possible reason for Ruben’s moves.

    • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

      Only problem with that is eams usually leave them around 5-10 million for mid season trades and Lee would take up all of that for this year and be owed at least 32 million more and potentially 52 million dollars more so I doubt teams are going to be willing to shell out top prospects for him and hes the best player available on the team.

      Burnett for a half year may get a Dempster like return.

      Paps for a year and half if he is pitching well could get a Gagne type return (David Murphy type prospect)

      Byrd- Trade probably be less value than what the Mets got last year.

      Overall, going to be hard to restock the farm and cut major salary by trading those 4 guys. With the Nats and Braves stacked but having lots of hard decisions in 2 years I think best bet for Phils would be eat the money( almost all of it) of the 4 guys and restock the farm aim for a contending team in 2016.

      • antsal 1 year ago

        Agree with all of that Bob. I think I’m more looking forward to the 100 million they would be under the cap in 2015 if they can move those salaries. Even if they only end up with 3 or 4 “half decent” prospects, the money to spend going forward in 2015 and 2016 is very appealing. Barring any otherextension of contracts signed, they’ll have about 130 million going into 2016 with 4 players committed to contracts. I have them right up against the luxury tax cap currently. A move will almost have to be made at the deadline to get them under.

  48. Mitch Augustyn 1 year ago

    $16m and pitchers and catchers are already reporting. Hard to believe that they would be so desperate to pay him that kind of money at this late stage.

  49. Brandon Lee 1 year ago

    Nice, now they have 4th place locked up.

  50. Jeff Snedden 1 year ago

    Wish it could have worked out for AJ to stay in Pittsburgh, but I wish him nothing but success in Philly. Just hope he didn’t get himself right back into the same situation he imploded under in NYC. Philly media can be just as unforgiving, and the fans will boo him out of the park if he doesn’t earn every one of those 16 million clams.

    Any idea if he got a limited no-trade clause? It will be interesting to see what the Phils try to do if they are 10-15 games out at the end of July. Figure every contender in baseball would be trying to acquire him, and what if they trade him to Texas, LA, Seattle, etc? I wonder if he would just walk away.

    • lt michaels 1 year ago

      I don’t see Burnett under much pressure in Philly. Keep in mind the Phillies have finished a combined 40 games out the past 2 years, expectations by the fan base are non existent. The Phillies fan base right now is in total apathy and imo Burnett can only be seen as a savior. Its not like Phillies fans are saying Burnett MUST produce, rather it’s if Burnett pitches to his peak maybe we can have an actual season. to watch.

  51. publius varrus 1 year ago

    This is surprising. RAJ can usually be counted on to give higher AAV and longer term…

  52. Oldredgunslinger 1 year ago

    Why would a veteran pitcher leave a championship club for a few extra million to a team that might with a little luck win 72 or 73 games ?

    • stl_cards16 1 year ago

      We don’t know what Pittsburgh was willing to offer. All we know is it was definitely less than $14MM or they would have gave him a QO.

      • monkeyking42 1 year ago

        There was a report that they offered $12M

    • burnboll 1 year ago

      I am confused too. If Burnett is interested in winning, Pirates are the much better option. With Burnett they had a legit shot at going all the way.

    • KJ4realz 1 year ago

      I’d venture a guess that a little more money and being close to home was more important

    • raltongo 1 year ago

      wait…by ‘championship’ club are you referring to the Pirates? When did they win a championship?

  53. DerekJeterDan 1 year ago

    Nice signing by the Phillies! Veteran presence is good for any rotation.
    Burnett will help nicely fill the void left by Roy Halladay.
    AJ, thanks for beating Pedro in Game 2. Best of luck in Philadelphia.

  54. Guest 1 year ago

    Surprised it a mutual option and not a vesting option, Ruben loves vesting options

  55. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

    Does limited no-trade list mean every team except Washington, Baltimore, Pittsburg?

  56. burnboll 1 year ago

    Trust Todd Zolecki to come through as the most team loyal beat writer in baseball. Again.

    Contrast Zolecki to Keith Law who dishes out on the very obvious bad fit for Burnett with the Phillies.

    Burnett would have been an awesome addition for any team that’s right on the cusp.

    Say a team like the Pirates, or Kansas City Royals or Atlanta.

    But the Phillies? This means they’ll win 74 games instead of 71. And that’s with a healthy Hamels.

    • burnboll 1 year ago

      So I get a vote down, why it might ask? What’s wrong with my statement?

      • burnboll 1 year ago

        Guys, Jeff Sullivan of FG agrees with me that Burnett was a much better fit with pirates. So whatcha got to say bout that? Instead of voting me down?

        • Metsfan93 1 year ago

          Why do you care if someone down votes you?

          • burnboll 1 year ago

            Good question. I guess I rather get an disagreement in a reply, which I then can counter to or agree with.

            It’s sort of like being voted off the island, you don’t have any say.

    • raltongo 1 year ago

      Hamels is key, but he is not THE key to 74 wins, Howard/Utley are…Hamels does not have a nagging injury history, so I’m not sure why you chose to select his name as the one who dictates the season.

      16 mil is a lot IMO for a guy, like you said, won’t turn the Phils into an automatic playoff team, and I thought Burnett was a better fit in Pittsburgh as well…I guess he was chasin the money in this case…

    • levdog 1 year ago

      I voted you down because this signing makes the Phillies a contending team in the N.L. East. Burnett is a solid #3 pitcher.

      • burnboll 1 year ago

        Sorry, don’t se them getting any better than last year.

        If the hope is for bounce back years from pretty much everyone but chase, then I think it’s a very grim 2014 season.

        • levdog 1 year ago

          They just need a healthy Howard. I expect rollins to be better, last year of his contract and he fell off the cliff last year. Just 2 guys need to bounce back and they will challenge for the division.

          • burnboll 1 year ago

            What’s your reason for optimism on J-Stroll?

            As for Howard, optimistically, he’s a 2 war player these days.which doesn’t make Phillies a playoff team.

          • levdog 1 year ago

            Rollins power numbers fell off dramatically last season, however he has been a winning proud player for a long time and in his last year of his contract. He has something to prove this season. Howard was effected by his injury last year. He is now completely healthy. He is not ancient, 35 years old i believe, confident he will hit around 35/100 this year.

    • wcu3syde 1 year ago

      Disagree with Law on this one. No risk at all to this deal. 1 year deal at any amount of money doesn’t matter. Then, if the Phillies happen to fall out of contention, they can trade him at the deadline to of of the team that you listed above. It would net them some good young talent to help rebuild the minors. Signing AJ gives them a legit #3 pitcher, especially with MAG being an unknown, Kendrick turning a terrible second half, and Hamels reporting shoulder issues. It’s a deal they almost had to make.

      • burnboll 1 year ago

        If he’s trade bait, then it could be a good signing. Just that amaro has been painfully slow in moving good players earlier.

  57. MilkMeMore 1 year ago

    In my opinion, TOO EASY

  58. Knockdown 1 year ago

    Makes the Maholm deal even more incredible.

  59. Jose_Who 1 year ago

    Watch him get murdered in that park. lol Signing him brings down the rosters average age!

  60. LittleOtterPaws 1 year ago

    It seams like everyone forgets the significant arm troubles he had midway through his career. I will bet anyone $5 he spends atleast some time on the DL this season with arm issues. He’s overdue.

    • livestrong77nyyankz 1 year ago

      That is simply the nature of pitching and it is not a problem exclusive to A.J. Burnett.

      • LittleOtterPaws 1 year ago

        I get that. Perhaps it was overhyped from that offseason when he signed with the yankees.

  61. Joe Valenti 1 year ago

    Off topic, but does anyone know how the new disqus works? I got an email notification that someone replied to my comment but when I came to the mlbtr site there is no notification and i don’t know where to find it.

  62. Jman1213 1 year ago

    Something tells me A.J. and Citizens Bank Park (Coors Field East) aren’t gonna get along too well.

  63. Zak Arn 1 year ago

    All of RAJ’s deals require an owner’s manual to figure out these days. It’s like he audited a Logic class and went to town with If and only If statements.

  64. KJ4realz 1 year ago

    If the Phillies can get lucky/healthy, that’s a nice top 3 to have compete. Their offense is a little bit of a mess but stranger things have happened.

    It’s a one year deal for a very good pitcher. Not sure what’s not to like

  65. levdog 1 year ago

    You should be a fan of the New York Mets or Miami Marlins, teams who refuse to pay for players, of course its a great move by Amaro. True fans want their team to get better and Burnett is a solid #3 solidifies who solidifies the Phillies starting rotation. I love when my team spends money to make their team better.

  66. Brandon Lee 1 year ago

    You realize that the Mets have spent the 5th most amount of money on players this off-season right?

  67. Metsfan93 1 year ago

    Behind New York, Seattle, Texas, and the Giants?

  68. levdog 1 year ago

    The Mets total payroll is that of a small market team, they are in New York City!!!

  69. Phillies don’t eat money.

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