According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, and Pittsburgh Pirates are among three teams vying for right hander A.J. Burnett. Burnett, 37, announced that he will pitch in 2014 and makes his offseason home in Maryland. Burnett, who led the NL in ground ball % and K/9 IP in 2013, has had a career renaissance since joining the Pirates. Since the beginning of the 2012 season, Burnett is 26-21 with a 3.41 ERA, 1.228 WHIP with 389 K in 393.1 IP.
Analysis: Burnett has been reborn since joining the Pirates. Since 2008, Burnett, who previously had a label as somewhat of a large injury risk, has become one of the more reliable starters in all of baseball, averaging 32 starts and 200 IP per season from 2008-2013. Burnett is the de-facto number one starting pitcher available and he would instantly upgrade the starting rotations of the teams interested.
If the price is right, this could be a wonderful pick up for the Phillies. But the Phillies have a few things working against them: Baltimore would seemingly be most appealing because it is closest to Burnett’s offseason home and the Pirates are likely the closest of the three teams to a championship.