Phillies, Burnett finalize $16 million deal
The Philadelphia Phillies finalized a one-year, $16 million contract with free-agent right-hander A.J. Burnett on Sunday.
An option for a second year could make the deal worth up to $33.5 million if he reaches 30 starts both years, according to ESPN. If the mutual option for 2015 is not exercised, Burnett has a player option for $7.5 million.
Burnett will wear retired Phillies star pitcher Roy Halladay's No. 34 jersey.
He will also be pitching close to his home in Maryland.
"I'll put it very simple. For the first time in my career, I made a decision that wasn't about A.J. Burnett," he said. "It was about my wife. It was about my kids. It was about playing somewhere where I'm at home, and I can still do what I love.
"And that feels good. It was a no-brainer for me."
Burnett, 37, pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates the past two seasons and it was assumed that he would return to the Pirates or retire. He mulled retirement during the offseason and the Pirates did not make him a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer. However, he decided to return as a free agent.
"At that point, at that time, that's where I was at," Burnett said. "You know, it was a long year, it was a great year, it was a fun year. But when I said that, and at that time, that's where I was, with my family and with my thoughts. I did not stick to that, obviously."
In 30 starts last season for Pittsburgh, Burnett went 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA, 209 strikeouts and 67 walks in 191 innings.
"If you were to tell us (when free agency started) what pitcher was going to be available, or what pitchers were going to be available, and he was part of the original mix, he probably would have been at the top of the ticket," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
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