A.J. Burnett is not retiring after all. The 37-year-old pitcher had indicated that he would hang it up after his solid 2013 campaign with Pittsburgh but now he’s done a 180 and says he’s ready to pitch in 2014.
Oh, and he’s also done a 180 on something else. Before Burnett indicated he would only pitch for Pittsburgh in 2014. But now Burnett says he’s willing to return with another team.
The Baltimore Orioles would very much like to be that team.
Peter Gammons took time out from working on his album of jam band music to report that the Orioles are “all in” on Burnett. The Tampa Bay Rays are also interested, per Gammo.
The mercurial Mr. Burnett went 10-11 for the Wild Card Pirates in 2013, posting a 3.30 ERA and a 1.215 WHIP in 191 innings. That was Burnett’s lowest WHIP since 2007 with Toronto, incidentally. In case you had worries about the 37-year-old declining.
Like certain other older pitchers – Bronson Arroyo comes to mind – Burnett would represent a low-risk move for the Orioles or any team seeking to sign him. He’s no front-of-the-rotation guy but he’s an innings-eater and he’ll get you your ten wins.
The only obstacle I can see keeping Burnett from signing with Baltimore is the physical. If he somehow manages to make it past the gauntlet of doctors in Baltimore, he should be an effective starter for the O’s as they seek to achieve relevance in the American League.