Yesterday news broke that A.J. Burnett plans to pitch in 2014 and isn’t necessarily committed to re-signing with the Pirates, which opens the door for other contenders to make a last-minute run at the 37-year-old who was one of the NL’s best pitchers last season.
Baltimore was immediately mentioned as a potential landing spot because Burnett lives in Maryland and now Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports that the Orioles are “all in on Burnett.” (Presumably they won’t care so much about his nipple rings and tattoos this time around.)
Gammons also mentions the Rays as potential Burnett suitors, which is certainly interesting considering their general lack of spending. And the odds of Pittsburgh out-bidding teams for Burnett on the open market seem slimmer and slimmer.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.