One year in the soul-grinding hell hole that is the Phillies organization and A.J. Burnett is ready to hang them up.
Burnett suffered his fourteenth loss of the season Tuesday night, one shy of his career high, and after the game sounded exactly as glum and hopeless as you would expect.
Even though Burnett now stands to make $10 million in 2015 after reaching the 27 start plateau for the Phillies, the 37-year-old pitcher says he’s leaning toward walking away rather than picking up his option (via CSNPhilly):
The ball is completely in Burnett’s court — or should we say wallet? — because his deal is a player option. If the 37-year-old right-hander comes back for a 17th season, he gets the money. If he packs his baseball memories in a duffel bag and takes it to the house, he doesn’t get the money.
So, is Burnett going to pitch next season?
“I have no idea,” the pitcher said after taking the loss Tuesday night. “Probably not. But we’ll see.”
Burnett’s option goes from $10 million to $12.75 million if he makes 32 starts this season. 32 starts is well within the realm of possibility for Burnett if he stays healthy.
Will he still be leaning toward retirement if he makes it to 32 starts and sees his option leap another $2.75 million? It depends. Can the man handle another year in Philadelphia? Can his soul endure another season in that realm of baseball nightmares? How much can one heart endure?