The Pittsburgh Pirates caught lighting in a bottle with A.J. Burnett in 2013. After a few roller-coaster years in the American League, Burnett settled into the NL Central prior to the 2012 campaign and these past two years have been marvelous for the starting pitcher known as “Batman.”
In fact, in 61 regular season starts with the Pirates Burnett has an ERA under 3.40 along with an impressive K/9 ratio of 8.9. Needless to say, it’s going to be hard for Pittsburgh to watch him walk, yet the Pirates just don’t have the funds to throw Burnett the kind of deal he wants.
With that being said, another baseball team in the state of Pennsylvania does have the payroll to afford a veteran like Burnett. And we’ve learned the hard way that Philadelpiha Phillies general manager Rueben Amaro Jr. has no problem investing in players over the age of 30. Besides, the the 1-2-3 punch of Cole Hamles, Cliff Lee and Burnett is the type of trio that should be able to compete with the rotations fielded by NL East rivals Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals.
Furthermore, the ball is now in the Phillies’ court as Burnett is one of the more proven pitchers on the open market, which means he likely won’t be available for much longer. Thus, Amaro Jr. needs to hop right on the action and beginning swaying Burnett to the other side of Pennsylvania.