Just minutes after news that Cole Hamels could miss the beginning of the season due to a biceps injury the Phillies have made a big move for the rotation: Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that they’ve signed A.J. Burnett to a one-year contract. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says it’s worth $16 million.
Burnett had two fantastic seasons for the Pirates, including ranking among the NL’s best starters last year, but early in the offseason the assumption was that he’d either retire at age 37 or re-sign with Pittsburgh.
That changed a couple weeks ago, when it became clear that Burnett planned to continue pitching and was open to leaving the Pirates. Pittsburgh failed to make Burnett a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer, so there’s no draft pick compensation. And if Hamels gets healthy the Phillies’ front three of Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Burnett is one of the very best in baseball. Last season that trio combined to throw 634 innings with a 3.25 ERA while each topping 200 strikeouts.
When Kenley Jansen experienced an irregular heartbeat last week some speculated that he could miss a month. That won’t be the case if he has his way. He said yesterday that he expects to be back next week, assuming he suffers no side effects from his medication between now and then.
Jansen threw a successful bullpen session on Monday, did conditioning work yesterday, and is planning to throw to hitters today. He’ll then travel with the Dodgers to Seattle and face hitters again on Friday at which a point a decision will be made about activating him. Given that the Dodgers are struggling, particularly with the bullpen, that decision is likely to be affirmative unless there is any reason to be concerned with Jansen’s health between now and then. He’s currently on blood-thinners and says he’s responding well.
All of that said, Jansen told reporters yesterday that there’s a good chance he will need a heart procedure in the offseason, the sort of which he had after his last occurrence of an irregular heartbeat back in 2012.
Jansen’s 32 saves ties him for the NL lead with Wade Davis of the Rockies.