If the music of your youth is the soundtrack of your life, the tracks in the Philadelphia Phillies clubhouse could be interesting, especially if pitcher A.J. Burnett signs with the team, a possibility reported on all three Philadelphia TV stations Wednesday.
With Burnett (37) aboard, most of the significant players on the team are in the 34-40 range, meaning the club will have a lot of Boyz II Men, Bryan Adams and Prince in the background, and not much of Daft Punk and Kanye West.
Any fear of the team growing old and breaking down might be offset by the chemistry that this older group can form, as most of their formative years were spent in the 1990’s. The Phillies having interest in Burnett makes sense more than just adding another old head. They have been after him for months, but the right-hander was undecided about even playing baseball in 2014.
Now that Spring Training is a couple of weeks away, Burnett has mentioned to his agent that he’s feeling the itch to play one more year, and the Phillies are more than willing to scratch it. The move makes sense for both, because the starting rotation has been shaping up, as Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels have a whole lot of question marks behind them.
Burnett is durable and he’s a ground-ball out pitcher and not a fly ball out pitcher, and that plays a whole lot better in hitting-friendly Citizens Bank Park. With Lee and Hamels, both lefties, at the top of the rotation, he’s a nice right-handed slot at No. 3. He won’t come cheap, as he made $16.5 million last season and probably will be looking for a similar payday. Luck just so has it that the Phillies have enough space in their payroll to accommodate that kind of contract and still finish under the luxury-tax threshold of $189 million.
Burnett would be the Phillies’ marquee signing in a winter bereft of marquee signings, so getting that signature on the dotted line would be sweet music to the ears of Phillies fans.