Friday, February 14, 2014

Burnett Joins Phillies

Burnett's been great for the Pirates. Now Philadelphia's counting on him (NESN)

It took them almost the entire offseason, but the Philadelphia Phillies finally made a move that makes sense and improves their team. By signing A.J. Burnett to a one-year, $16 million deal on Wednesday, the Phillies found a short-term solution that fills the void left in the rotation by Roy Halladay's retirement.

And while Burnett has never come close to matching the dominance displayed by Halladay, a two-time Cy Young winner, Burnett's been the far-better pitcher over the past two seasons (the league's eighth-most valuable pitcher, in fact) and thus represents an upgrade. He's not the kind of ace who can add five or six wins to a team by himself, but then again the Phillies don't need him to be. They need rotation depth beyond Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. Burnett, a strong number two starer, offers that.

Then again, Burnett is 37, so Philadelphia's banking he can hold off Father Time for one more year. He also didn't fare too well the last time he pitched for an East Coast baseball team with intense fans in the not-so-distant past. So it's definitely possible that Burnett falls apart in 2014. Halladay himself proved how quickly a pitcher can lose it, and Halladay was a much better pitcher than Burnett is, was, or can ever hope to be.

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