A.J. Burnett becomes free agent after declining 2015 player option with Phillies

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According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, the Phillies just announced that right-hander A.J. Burnett has declined his $12.75 million player option for 2015. He’s now a free agent.

This decision comes as a surprise, but it’s one the Phillies have to be pretty happy about. As Jayson Stark of ESPN.com notes, Burnett could have made as much as $14.75 million in 2015 with incentives.

Burnett, 37, posted a 4.59 ERA and 190/96 K/BB ratio in 213 2/3 innings across 34 starts this season. While he has talked about the possibility of retirement, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman hears that he turned down the option because he wants to pitch for a contending team.

Video: Jorge Soler launches first home run of spring training

Jorge Soler
Associated Press
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The Royals and Rangers played the first game of spring training today. A few other teams (the Red Sox, Tigers and Twins) played or are currently playing college squads, but Kansas City-Texas is our first matchup of big league teams. Baseball’s back, baby! And you know what baseball means?

Kansas City’s Jorge Soler, who hit 48 homers last year to lead the American League, offered us the year’s first glimpse at recreational baseball murder when he took Kolby Allard out over the left field yard.

Mmm. That’s the good stuff. Here’s to eight and a half months more of that. Bring me the dingers.

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