Orioles have interest in A.J. Burnett if he chooses to extend career

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MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports that the Orioles are feeling out free agent pitcher A.J. Burnett’s interest in prolonging his career. If the right-hander wants to go for one more season, the Orioles will want to start a discussion. Kubatko adds that the O’s already met with representatives of Burnett at the winter meetings in Florida.

Burnett will turn 37 years old on January 3. He has been weighing retiring after 15 seasons in the Majors or coming back for another season. He spent 2013 with the Pirates, helping them end a 21-year playoff drought by posting a 3.30 ERA in 191 innings and leading the league averaging 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.