Burnett Is the Litmus Test
In my last post I stated that I believed the Phillies should sign AJ Burnett if he is interested in pitching in Philadelphia. I started thinking that this decision will be a litmus test for the Phillies, provided his demands are not ridiculous. What do I mean, you ask? Well, a few posts ago, I wrote that it seems that the Phillies plan is to say that they are trying to compete, but in reality are hedging their bets to save some money and to get ready for selling off several players when they are out of contention this year. I have no problem with the Phillies rebuilding. In fact, I have previously stated that that is what they should now be doing. But Ruben is insistent that they will try and compete this year.
Signing Burnett would make them a better team. They have two very good starters and then a bunch of unknowns at best. Having a reliable third starter would go a long way in helping be competitive, especially if the offense can be a little better this year. The Phillies passing on Garza was also curious, especially when he signed a relatively team-friendly contract. One could state that the Phillies didn’t sign Garza because they are trying to avoid a long-term deal. However, Burnett would not require a long-term deal–two years at most. If his demands are not crazy, and they don’t sign him, I think it will be a clear statement that they really aren’t as interested in competing as they have previously said.
It just so happens that Todd Zolecki was thinking about the same thing. He makes some good points about the Phillies rotation and their payroll.