In a move that has the Phillies front office breathing a sigh of relief, pitcher A.J. Burnett has turned down his $12.75 million player option and will become a free agent. This weekend the Phillies turned down their team option which cut Burnett’s player option from $15 million to $12.75 million.
Burnett was brought in last off-season in a move to bolster the pitching rotation after a very successful year with the Pirates but Burnett failed to match the success he had in Pittsburgh. Dealing with a hernia for much of the season Burnett compiled a 8-18 record with a 4.59 ERA. He led MLB in walks (96) and was second in MLB in hit batsmen (16). He will be 38 next season and his agent has stated that he expects Burnett to pitch “for a contender”. Shockingly that does not include the Phillies (in their minds).
Many thought that it was a forgone conclusion that Burnett would pick up his $12.75 million, after all who turns down that amount of money? But for a slightly better than average pitcher (4.04 career ERA), Burnett has done well for himself. His career earnings are $135,771,500. That’s $37 million more than Chris Carpenter. A.J. Burnett has made his money and he is willing to leave $12.75 million on the table in order to not play for the 2015 Phillies. And, honestly, who could really blame him?
According to a tweet from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Burnett’s agent indicated that the veteran desires to compete for a team that’s slated to be a contender next year and not in rebuilding mode, like the Phillies are.
A.J. Burnett’s agent, Darek Braunecker: “We do expect that he will pitch in ’15. For a contender.”
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 4, 2014