Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A.J. Burnett

It's been a while since I've posted (full-time job + night MBA program + end of the financial world = very busy), but I wanted to go on record and state that signing A.J. Burnett would be a terrible move by the Orioles. The only good reason for signing Burnett seems to be that "Hey, he lives close by and he might actually want to play for us!" And, well, that's not a good reason. Not when reports have the Yankees being willing to offer five years and $80 million (!!!) for a 32-year old pitcher (2009 age) that has only three times exceeded 200 innings. It should also be noted that after his last two 200+ IP seasons he totaled 23.0 and 135.2 IP the following season. That does not bode well for the first year of his mega-contract.

Is Burnett talented? Sure. He has struck out 8.36 batters/9 IP over the course of his career. Scouts rank his "stuff" as among the very best in the game. He has proven he can succeed in the difficult American League East. Does that mean he's someone on whom the Orioles, a team that is much more than one starter away from making the playoffs, should be spending $14 million per season through 2013? No. Save your pennies for a true franchise player or pitcher and continue the long, slow process of building from within. It may not have shown on the field last season, but the Orioles are light years closer to fielding a competitive team now than they were this time in 2007. A pitcher like A.J. Burnett would be a nice luxury, but right now I'd prefer a Major League shortstop, a big corner bat for the middle of the order and continued development from the crop of talented young pitchers that make up the Orioles Top 10 Prospects.