The Philadelphia Phillies Sign A.J. Burnett: Haters Rejoice!
By Mike Lacy
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
I thought A.J. Burnett might be the Phillies only hope. It seemed like they weren’t interested in him, and then we heard that maybe they were. Finally came today’s big news: The Phillies have agreed on a one-year deal with Burnett.
Most Phillies fans are happy about the deal. Burnett is an upgrade who fills what was a VERY prominent hole on their roster. More importantly, he won’t require sacrificing a draft pick, and won’t affect their payroll beyond this season. While he doesn’t make them the favorites – or anywhere close to it – in the division, you can at least kind of see ways for them to make the playoffs.
That said, there do seem to be some people who dislike the deal. This group includes:
People who don’t like baseball’s escalating salary structure – It seems ridiculous that a 37-year-old third starter reasonably commands $16 million in free agency, but that’s the world we live in.
John Mayberry, Jr – With this added salary, the Phillies might look to cut costs elsewhere. If they think that Mayberry’s salary will be the difference that keeps them under the luxury tax threshold, then JMJ’s days as a Phillie may be over.
Pirates fans – One year after making the playoffs for the first time in forever, they see one of their best starting pitchers leave. It’s sad if the Pirates truly couldn’t afford his salary.
People who get upset about the Phillies average age – Yes, much like many of his new teammates, Burnett is old. But his 2013 numbers don’t show much sign of decline. Honestly, age isn’t really a factor at all in a one-year deal.
People who wanted to see Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez in the rotation – MAG will now likely start the season in AAA or the bullpen. This could turn out to be a very good thing for both him and the club.
People who wanted the Phillies to be buyers at the trade deadline – It really doesn’t look like they have much room to add anything at the trade deadline unless they’re willing to go over the cap.
Pretty much everyone else should be very happy that the Phillies improved their 2014 team without hurting their future chances at all.