Burnett Signing Gives Phillies Fans Hope

Posted: February 12, 2014 in Uncategorized



The Phillies made SkoodSports’ foresight rather prolific today. Less than 24 hours after this site suggested that signing AJ Burnett would be a coup for the Phillies; Ruben Amaro and Co. made it official, inking the 37-year old to a one year, $16 million contract on Wednesday.

Despite noted anti-Philadelphia analyst Keith Law’s negative opinions on the deal (you won’t be able to read his vile diatribe unless you agree to pay ESPN for their “Insider” access), the signing of Burnett is in fact a very positive outcome for the Phillies. The veteran, with 15 years of MLB experience on his ledger, provides stability in the middle of the team’s rotation. With Cole Hamels likely to begin the campaign on the 15-day DL, Amaro was quite aware that something else was needed behind Cliff Lee if the Phillies had any hopes of contending in 2014. Today, the team did exactly what they needed to do to put themselves at least in a position to contend in the NL East.

Burnett isn’t going to win anything on his own. But, the former Marlins’ phenom is still just as successful as he was four or five years ago. Over the past two years in Pittsburgh, Burnett was one of the best right handed starters in the National League. Last year, the Little Rock, AR native struck out over 200 batters for the first time since 2008. He also started 30+ games for the sixth consecutive season. In fact, Burnett, who was injury prone with the Marlins earlier in his career, has tossed at least 186 innings in every season since 2008. That alone would make this signing a strong one for the Phillies. The deal is even more impressive when one considers how much other free agent starters were guaranteed this offseason.

Below is a list of the other free agent right handed starters that were paid more this offseason than Burnett:

Masahiro Tanaka – 7 years, $155 million
Matt Garza – 4 years, $50 million
Ricky Nolasco – 4 years, $49 million
Tim Lincecum – 2 years, $35 million
Scott Feldman – 3 years, $30 million
Phil Hughes – 3 years, $24 million
Bronson Arroyo – 2 years, $23.5 million
Tim Hudson – 2 years, $23 million
Bartolo Colon – 2 years, $20 million

Of those listed above, whose contract would you rather have instead of the one signed today? Tanaka certainly has more upside. But, the amount that the Yankees invested on an unproven pitcher is a rather risky endeavor. The rest of the contracts speak for themselves. The two year deals provided to Hudson and Colon, two players who are older than Burnett, look wildly misguided at this point.

The signing of Burnett doesn’t mean that the Phillies have leaped over Atlanta and Washington in the NL East. But, it gives the Phillies and their fans a fighting chance. If the offense can stay healthy, this should be an 80+ win team. With one snap of the fingers and a signature on the dotted line, Amaro has turned the 2014 season from one shrouded in uncertainty to one with a light at the end of the tunnel. The upcoming campaign now offers hope, and all that’s left to do is wait for that first crack of the bat in Clearwater less than a week from today.


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