Ever since 2009 when Ruben Amaro took over as Phillies General Manager, he has not been afraid to throw around the money for free agents. Or just for players he already has. Well today Amaro added to that by signing right hander A.J Burnett to a one year 16 million dollar contract. Burnett is entering his 16th season in the major leagues fittingly. He has spend the past two seasons in Pittsburgh where he posted a 26-21 record with a 3.41 earned run average.
Burnett obviously is nearing the end of his career in baseball, at age 37, turning 38 in June, there is questions as to how much left he has in the tank. Not to disrespect his past two seasons, he has been a productive pitcher for the Pirates and will most likely have around the same statistics for the Phillies this season except most likely fewer wins with the team that has been put together this season. Burnett joins a rotation that is held up by Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, who is recovering from bicep tendonitis and will not be ready for opening day, already not a great start to the season. Miguel Gonzalez and Kyle Kendrick/Jonathan Pettibone will fill out the rotation.
Now in all honesty, I don't mind the signing of Burnett, he is still a quality pitcher who, as long as he stays healthy, will be a productive pitcher for this team this season. The problem is, he's entering his age 38 season, on a team in desperate need of getting younger and building a new nucleus of players to build around. With an infield that will only have one player under 30 starting, assuming Cody Asche will be the opening day third baseman, and a rotation that has mostly upper 20's and low 30's starters, this team needs to get younger.
The problem I have with the signing, it's 16 million dollars....for one season...explain Mr. Amaro? I'm not saying sign him to a long term contract, there's obviously no point in that, but is he serious with 16 million for just one season? I'm sure he could have gotten Burnett for less...but it's Ruben, he doesn't exactly care how much money he has to spend. It's a lot of money to spend on a guy who we won't even keep next season, and for a season that will most likely result in a fourth or fifth place finish.
I just keep on wondering...why that much money? Then I remembered, our GM doesn't know how to actually build a baseball team.
Photo credit to espn.com