Jul 11, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) pitches during the first inning of a game against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Orioles: Why A.J. Burnett Is Not The Right Move

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As reported Saturday afternoon by CBS Sports, the Orioles and Phillies have advanced in talks to send pitcher A.J. Burnett to Baltimore.

I just don’t understand this move if it were to happen. What’s the need for it?

Burnett wouldn’t be an upgrade over the fifth best man in the rotation right now, so why take on his $16 million contract for no upgrade?

Burnett currently has a 4.08 ERA with a record of 6-9 on the year. Comparatively, four out of the five pitchers on the Orioles’ current five-man rotation have better ERAs than that; and the one that doesn’t owns an ERA of 4.15 with a 9-3 record. All these pitchers are getting paid under $10 million, so why pay double the amount of money for the same production?

Burnett currently has a 4.08 ERA with a record of 6-9 on the year. Comparatively, four out of the five pitchers on the Orioles current five-man-rotation have better ERAs than that

This isn’t the only problem I have with this potential trade. As it currently stands, the Orioles sort of have a six-man rotation. Adding Burnett would essentially make it a seven-man rotation, which would force someone out.

Well, it’s not going to be Bud Norris, as he has been the most consistent starting pitcher since day one. It’s not going to be Wei Yin-Chen, who has also been a very consistent arm since the beginning of the season. They won’t kick out the recently-emerging Kevin Gausman, who has shown his full potential over the last month or two pitching to a 3.29 ERA on the year. It won’t be Chris Tillman – their best pitcher from last year who earned his first career All-Star selection and has been solid this year as well.

That leaves us with Miguel Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez. After struggling to start off the year, Gonzalez has responded well ever since coming of the DL, lowering his ERA to 4.04. Jimenez has struggled through the course of the season, but are you really going to kick him out of the rotation after paying him $12.5 million?

After reviewing all that, it would be in the Orioles’ best interest not to trade for Burnett. Sure he has a lot of experience that can help the team down the stretch, but it has gotten a little crazy already.

The team has recently discussed using a six-man-rotation, but if you add Burnett then you have seven, and who’s the odd man out? I’m not suggesting that the Orioles shouldn’t trade for Cliff Lee or David Price if they were offered to them, because those guys are just too good to pass up. However, trading for a guy like A.J. Burnett, who wouldn’t give the Orioles anything more than what they have, just doesn’t sound right.

Depth is good, but not in this situation. Buck Showalter’s head might just blow up soon if this goes on any longer.

I think that the Orioles just move on with their lives and make a run at the postseason with the starting rotation they currently have. Adding some depth in the bullpen certainty wouldn’t hurt, neither would adding some quality players on the bench. However, I think the Orioles have such a good lineup that they don’t need their rotation to be spectacular, they just need them to be good enough to get by.

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Tags: A.J. Burnett

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