If the Washington Nationals, with their glut of starting pitching, actually added veteran A.J. Burnett, they would just be trolling their neighbors, right? Would they seriously do that to the Baltimore Orioles?
Noting that the Nationals still have money to spend and have been prone to late off-season moves in the past, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post wonders if they will take a look at signing Burnett:
As we have seen, though, value sometimes trumps need this time of year. Could the Nationals add to an already loaded rotation and make a play for A.J. Burnett? The 37-year-old decided against retirement last week and would prefer to pitch close his home in Monkton, Md. With four top-shelf starters and a host of candidates, led by Ross Detwiler, for the fifth spot, they clearly do not need Burnett.
“But, if he can be had on a one-year deal, it would not be out of character for the Nationals to at least take a chance. Burnett led the National League last year in strikeout rate and groundball rate. He would give the Nationals the best on-paper rotation in the majors, hands down, and would also create excellent depth – all those candidates for the fifth spot would be bullpen arms or waiting in reserve in case of injury.”
The Orioles, we have heard, are “all in” on Burnett, presumably with designs of slotting him into the #2 or #3 spot in their rotation. Even at age 37, that’s about where he fits with a lot of teams (3.30 ERA in 191 innings last season). For the Nationals, he would be their #5.
Seriously, that would just be mean.