Skip to content

Orioles going “all in” trying to sign A.J. Burnett

Jan 30, 2014, 11:43 AM EDT

a.j. burnett getty Getty Images

Yesterday news broke that A.J. Burnett plans to pitch in 2014 and isn’t necessarily committed to re-signing with the Pirates, which opens the door for other contenders to make a last-minute run at the 37-year-old who was one of the NL’s best pitchers last season.

Baltimore was immediately mentioned as a potential landing spot because Burnett lives in Maryland and now Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports that the Orioles are “all in on Burnett.” (Presumably they won’t care so much about his nipple rings and tattoos this time around.)

Gammons also mentions the Rays as potential Burnett suitors, which is certainly interesting considering their general lack of spending. And the odds of Pittsburgh out-bidding teams for Burnett on the open market seem slimmer and slimmer.

  1. uyf1950 - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    Just a guess but I’m assuming based on his performance over in Pittsburgh that it’s going to at least $15MM per possibly more. Then the question is does he want one year or maybe 2.

    It will be interesting to see if Baltimore does sign him f he can pass their physical which lately doesn’t seem like an easy task for players.

    • number42is1 - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      7 yrs $155… you heard it here first

      • uyf1950 - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        Why not Showalter’s under contract through the 2018 season. Aren’t Showalter and Burnett around the same age.

      • spudchukar - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        A word of caution my friend, when claiming to be the Yankees Ultimate Fan, it is unwise to mock the age of other teams’ players.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        @ spudchukar, actually I was making fum of the poster whose comment suggested 7 yrs / $155 a number who’s meaning wasn’t lost to me.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        correction: “fun”

    • pisano - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM

      uyf1950…. The O’s must have a short memory, this guy got killed in the AL. I couldn’t imagine any team paying him $15MM, but if pitching is that scarce he might cash in.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:07 PM

        My friend I don’t think they have forgotten. I do think he will be better in Baltimore then he was in NY. How much better is the question.

        I think also the reason the O’s are interested in him is they need a starting pitcher. he didn’t get a QO and at most he’s not going to require more then a year or 2 deal. Probably just 1 year.

        The O’s haven’t done anything this off season if the Jays sign either Jimenez or Ervin Santana and the O’s do nothing to upgrade they could be looking at last place in the AL East. In that case Showalter could be looking at being on the “hot seat” come the 2015 season. Just my opinion.

      • spudchukar - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        Sorry Pi, but it is your memory that needs inspection. He did have two tough years, his last in the AL with the Yanks in 2010 and 2011, but in his other 4 years he was more than serviceable, and at times very good.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        @ spudchukar, yes he was serviceable in in 2006 through 2009 he was also just 29 in 2006. He just turned 37 could make a difference. My guess is he will be somewhere between serviceable and a disaster for Baltimore in the AL East.

      • spudchukar - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        The past two years, in a division that was arguably tougher than the AL East, he posted All-Star numbers. I bet the O’s are basing their interest on his most recent success, mindful of his troubles in the final two years in New York.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:46 PM

        My friend what made the NL Central division “arguably” tougher? He pitched for the Pirates so he obviously didn’t have to pitch to them. Only the Cardinals ranked in the top 10 teams in most offensive categories in 2013 of any of the Central Division teams. And the Cubs and Brewers were not exactly powerhouse teams.

        Just my opinion but I think you overvalue the offenses of the Reds, Brewers and Cubs when it comes to Burnett’s pitching against other NL Central division teams. But hey I could be wrong.

      • rockthered1286 - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        Isn’t there something to be said about roster turnover between 2011 and 2014? The current version of the AL East that Burnett would be facing is not exactly reminiscent of his last stint. Unless we are giving full credit to the stadiums of the AL East being his downfall and not the bats. Which would be a poor assessment in my opinion.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      I would take a shot @ Arroyo before Burnett the emotional disaster.
      How do you show up @ Yankee Stadium with a black eye, this guy is trouble

  2. butchhuskey - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Yeah but what about the nipple rings?

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:10 PM

      maybe they like nipple rings now, all it takes is one kinky guy to change the culture.
      do you think he has two nipple rings?

      • cackalackyank - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        Peter Angelos wishes he had nipple rings.

      • rockthered1286 - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        Angelos is more willing to spend money on high quality nipple rings than high quality players.

      • anxovies - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:52 PM


      • anxovies - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        As long as he is not getting any calls from Cashman I don’t care who he signs with.

    • jerseyjoehaven - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      Tie fishing line to both of them and the other ends to the catchers knees. If the catcher has to run after a wild pitch or a pastball Burnett will be dragged all over the field to the backstop. Just a commical thought.

      • jerseyjoehaven - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:00 AM


  3. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    The O’s won’t spend 15 mil. Not their style. They’ll push for a local discount type thing. Also, isn’t this about the 20th player they’ve been “All in” on in the past 3 years? Expect him to sign in Tampa, or basically anywhere else. I have no faith in my front office anymore.

  4. tfbuckfutter - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:25 PM


    1 surprise season in the last 2 decades and they STILL go back to their old ways.

    This is a brilliant idea, O’s. He was terrible for the Yankees, had a couple DECENT (Not even particularly good, just slightly above average) seasons in the NL, and you want to bring him back to the AL East at the height of his value.

    God I love you guys.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      Easy on the O’s now. I’m rooting for them.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        I am too.

        I’m rooting for them to sign Burnett for 5 years.

        And bring back Albert Belle too.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:51 PM


        /throws peanuts

    • spudchukar - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      ERAs of 3.51 and 3.30 are particularly good.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        ’06 to ’09: 3 years TOR, first year in NY
        729.2 IP, 3.97 ERA, 112 ERA+; 8.9 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 2.50 K/BB

        Adding in ’02 to ’09; 4 years of FL, 3 TOR, 1 NY
        1286.0 IP, 3.77 ERA, 113 ERA+; 8.8 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 2.45 K/BB

        That’s well above average

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        That’s also 5 years ago.

        2010+2011 = ERA+ 83

        Switch to NL and it ends up 107.

        If you take all 4 years it’s 93.

      • spudchukar - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        Church, my comment was in response to tfbuck’s, claiming the past two years for Burnett with Pittsburgh, were “not particularly good”.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        @spud, I agree with you and was providing more info

        Thanks, but your initial comment was that he didn’t have any good years, that they were slightly above average. The League pitching 13% worse isn’t slightly above average.

      • spudchukar - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:35 PM

        OK, my bad, didn’t read your comment very carefully.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:41 PM

        I said he had a couple decent seasons AFTER his awful ones with New York.

        “He was terrible for the Yankees, had a couple DECENT (Not even particularly good, just slightly above average) seasons in the NL,”

        You should at least comprehend what I said before telling me I said something I didn’t.

      • spudchukar - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        He only pitched two seasons in the NL after his troubles in New York. Both were quite good. I fail to see how I didn’t comprehend what you wrote. Suggesting they were “not even particularly good”, was the quote you wrote, I commented on, and we are still discussing.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        I said he had a couple decent seasons AFTER his awful ones with New York.

        No, you didn’t. The words after never appeared. If that’s what you meant, so be it but that isn’t what you wrote. And the league pitching 12% worse* than him in FL is far from “slightly above average”.

        *I do this often and need to stop myself, by a 107 ERA+ doesn’t mean the pitcher was 7% better than the league average. It means the league was 7% worse than the pitcher. To be 7% better than league average, it’s a 93 ERA-.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        I’m sorry.

        Was it not clear by the commas that it was an order of events?

  5. tfbuckfutter - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Not when they only add up to an ERA+ of 107.

    That’s slightly above average. Like….it’s practically the definition of it.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      That obviously was meant as a reply to your post, spudchucker.

      • spudchukar - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:12 PM

        By your assessment, of my original ERA/Burnett comment, the following pitchers in MLB in 2013 weren’t particularly good: U. Jimenez, H. Kuroda, D. Price, G. Gonzalez, D. Holland. J. Masterson, and Justin Verlander, just to name a few

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        It’s not my assessment. It’s a quantifiable statistic.

        Burnett was 7% better than league average.

        I’m not sure what Justin Verlander being 21% better than average has to do with Burnett being only slightly better than average.

        I suggest you research how ERA+ works as it’s a much better stat for comparing pitchers than just looking at ERA (especially across leagues which is borderline insane).

        If you want an AL pitcher for comparison, Burnett’s season falls below Andy Pettite and above Jeremy Guthrie.

      • spudchukar - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:34 PM

        I am well aware of how ERA+ works, but that wasn’t the topic of discussion. If you choose to switch to another metric to back up your assessment, that is fine, and one can surely make the case that the advanced metric is superior to the ol’ ERA.

        But again, that wasn’t the subject, and ERA is still a fairly reliable indication of a pitcher’s worth, it isn’t like Wins, or the over-rated KO/9 category.

        As I stated, ERAs of 3.30 and 3.51 are particularly good. They were good 20 years ago, and most likely will be in 2033.

        Burnett has weaknesses, mostly of the big inning kind. And he still lacks the consistency to be a #1 or #2, but if you are looking for a #3 or #4 guy he is more than adequate. His stuff is
        still nasty, harnessing it has always been his trouble, but the 2012 and 2013 campaigns indicate that he has improved in that area.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        ERA is a completely useless stat. Especially when comparing between players in different leagues.

        I never said anything about his ERA (because of how useless it is in this discussion) except in response to your comment that they were “particularly good” to point out that they are not “particularly good” when league average is 3.78 and 3.96.

        It’s 7% better than average. That’s not particurly good.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        And all 2012 and 2013 did is reinforce how much easier it is to pitch in the National League.

      • spudchukar - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:52 PM

        The 7% better stat is phony. His numbers should be compared to other starters only. Including relievers greatly skews the numbers.

        Obviously, a league that unfortunately employs the DH will always be a league where it is tougher to keep the opposition from scoring, but that is the only difference between the leagues entering 2014 as it was in 2013.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        Thank you for assuring me I have completely wasted my time in trying to converse with you.

        You win. He’s as good as Verlander.

      • spudchukar - Jan 30, 2014 at 6:34 PM

        You already said that.

  6. tcostant - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    2 years $28M sounds like a good deal for both.

  7. alpo27 - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    As a Bucco fan I’d have liked to see him stay, but after we nixed the qualifying offer I had no expectations. He could demand $14-$20M for a season of work, but I assume he’ll take the best offer of just a handful of teams and possibly leave some money on the table in doing so.

    The Buccos move on to build their rotation around Cole, Liriano and Morton – but AJ’s influence will never be forgotten. We were lucky to have him, and so is the team he eventually signs with.

  8. alpo27 - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Balty is trying to keep up in a division where they are simply overmatched. Boston and New York have bigger wallets, Tampa is better at finding and utilizing talent and Toronto tries (poorly) to do both. Maybe if Baltimore was in the Central or the NL West they’d have a chance, but I think we’ve seen the best they can be and it wasn’t good enough.

    • sophiethegreatdane - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:30 PM

      First off — Balty? Really?

      Second — there is no reason (except lame ownership) that the Orioles can’t spend more money, and do it wisely. Hell, they are $10M less (right now) than they were last year. No, they can’t spend like NY, but there is no reason they can’t have a $120M payroll (other than cheap ownership).

      Third — Tampa is a good team, but it took them many years of drafting very high to build a core of players, and for those players to come together at the right time for them to be competitive. No reason that Baltimore can’t compete by drafting smartly (i.e. avoid OBVIOUS busts like Hobgood — god, I hated them drafting him).

      The O’s need to draft well, trade well, and pay for the right player at the right price. Unlike Boston or NY, they don’t have any room for error in the free agent market.

  9. beachnbaseball - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    The Orioles are all in if Burnett will agree to 1 year at some measly dollar amount. Remember, Angelos once said that because pitchers only pitch every 5 days they should be paid accordingly.

    • beachnbaseball - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Does Burnett really want to play in the AL East seeing the Rays, Boston, the Jays and Yankees 18 or 19 times each in 2014? The guy has pride. I’m betting he wants to win.

  10. plmathfoto - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    Will he (or any other free agent for that matter) pass the O’s physical with the nipple rings?

  11. watermelon1 - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    What the…. Oh nevermind, it’s just the orioles being the orioles again.

    FML. SMH. And whatever other acronyms you can think of.

  12. musketmaniac - Jan 31, 2014 at 2:30 AM

    close to home he said, Philly, Pittsburgh,and Baltimore. why not Washington. they have been spending the money. he wouldn’t have the `Ace` pressure/responsibility. Strasburgh could pick his brain, he has that tutoring persona.

  13. soxski - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    AJ, AJ AJ… soon we forget….you are not a talented American East pitcher. Stay in the NL. Go out on top. The Pirates love you…the team respects you and the players seek your leadership. In short you went from dud to stud just by switching leagues…IT would be difficult to watch you struggle and see your ERA go up 2 or 3 points and your wins sink to single digits when you can pitch 19 games against the Mets, Marlins, and Philly With Atlanta opposing the toughest obstacle. The worse team in the AL east is Toronto and they have several players included Bautita that eat your slider for an appetizer. You will not get out of the Fifth in Boston or NY as they jack up tour walk totals and fustrate you to the breaking point….finally the non spending Rays will shut down your teams iffense as you give up ine dinger behind two walks but their ypung horses are just too good. Baltimore has enough to keep it interesting and a great manager but at the end of the day your best bet to get to the WS is Pittsburgh….I was cheering my ass off for you last year….I want to watch you go out on top…unfortunately not everyone is build for the AL east. The teams wear down the best pitchers….do you think Lester would have struggled one single game if he pitched in the NL East or Centeal…..I think he would been lights out for a decade leaving teams droing over his pending free agency….just as they did when you left Florida.

  14. TheBirdsAreBackinBmore - Feb 4, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    The world series is not won in free agency. AJ isn’t worth the money he will be paid, but then again, not many players are. Virtually the whole Yankees roster are over paid has-bins that will amount to a third place finish just below the Sox and O’s. The Rays will struggle this year and have one of the worst offenses in the league. As for the Orioles, who have the strongest core of players in the AL East. I Imagine they lead the league in Offense and Defense but are middle of the pack (Again) in the pitching stats. I expect a dramatic improvement in the orioles bull pen and a second place finish behind the champs. With Davis, Wieters, Jones, Machado, Markakis, and JJ Hardy as the main core of the team. I like them better then all four AL east squads. Thats just my opinion though…LAY IT ON ME INTERNET TOUGH GUYS.

    • everon63 - Feb 4, 2014 at 8:50 PM

      They need all they can get out of the pen because the starters, outside of Tilly, get shelled 3rd. time through the lineup. Zero legit upgrades, 3rd or 4th at best.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (2322)
  2. B. Crawford (2291)
  3. Y. Puig (2269)
  4. G. Springer (2034)
  5. D. Wright (1999)
  1. J. Hamilton (1971)
  2. J. Fernandez (1959)
  3. D. Span (1907)
  4. H. Ramirez (1863)
  5. C. Correa (1823)