June 3, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
For those fans and pundits alike who thought that A.J. Burnett would make a good match for a return to the Toronto Blue Jays, your ship has sailed. According to reports out of Arkansas, Burnett has come to an agreement with the Philadelphia Phillies on a one-year, $16 million deal.
That’s a pretty decent haul for a pitcher that many felt was going to retire rather than pitch in 2014. When it became public knowledge that he was going to return, his lack of a qualifying offer made him an attractive target for many teams, including the Blue Jays.
The 37-year-old Burnett resuscitated his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates over the last two seasons. In 61 starts for the Pirates, Burnett went 26-22 with a 3.41 ERA, an 8.9 K/9 ratio, and was worth 7 wins over the last two years. Compared to some of the other middling starters on the market getting more, Burnett was perhaps the shining star once he declared he was pitching.
The was enough for the Blue Jays to kick the tires, but according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Burnett had expressed a desire to stay in the National League.
Still, Burnett would have made a nice addition to the Blue Jays staff, and perhaps could have slotted in as the team’s number one or number two starter. Toronto can still find help on the market, with names like Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez still looking for work, but Burnett would have been a surer thing with less of a commitment.