A.J. Burnett is back on the trade block, with the Orioles, Padres, Blue Jays, Angels, Dodgers, and White Sox all supposedly in the mix according to the Miami Herald. This would be quite interesting, as it would signal Florida sort of giving up on this season in a way, as well as accepting the fact they will not resign Burnett. I think this is a ploy by the front office to try and get people to feel bad about not showing up to games, but I'm not sure this is so smart. Anyways, this isn't about what I think about the reasoning behind the trade for Florida so much as how much it would impact the pennant races.
If the Orioles get Burnett, it will most definitely make them contenders, as they lack the star pitcher necessary for success in the AL East. Of course, when Bedard comes back, that would give them two possibly front-line starters for the stretch run, something no other team in the East really has (with Schilling injured anyways). I'm still worried about their runs per game totals falling as of late, but they are still a dangerous team, and if they can upgrade first base they will be extrememly dangerous.
NRAA/162 G: -5.43
They should probably attempt to get Mike Sweeney from Kansas City, no matter the cost. Replacing Sosa would be great for them as well, but I don't see it happening. Palmeiro, after he gets his 3,000 hit, has no reason to be starting in the lineup if the Royals can get Mike Sweeney or someone else with better production. Burnett and Sweeney would make them exceptionally dangerous.
The Blue Jays have a shot at Burnett thanks to his former pitching coach (who he likes much better than the current one from what I've read this year) is in Canada. This would be more of a move for next year, but it would also allow them to possibly move Miguel Batista to shore up the Florida bullpen. The extra cash from moving Batista could go to Burnett next year. Hallday/Burnett/Lilly...watch out 2006.
If Anaheim gets A.J. Burnett, let me put this simply. The only team with a chance to stop them in the West would be Oakland, thanks to their own strong pitching. I don't think Texas's bats would be enough.
It honestly makes no sense for the Dodgers to get A.J. Burnett unless they know they can re-sign him. Next year, with a rotation fronted by Burnett and Penny, along with Derek Lowe and Odalis Perez would be formidable, especially in the West, where only San Diego looks dangerous for the immediate future.
I am not entirely sure why the White Sox would try to get Burnett. I understand adding another arm is important, but keeping Brandon McCarthy on the big league squad might be more important. Replacing El Duque and Contreras in the rotation is key to their continuing success though, and Burnett can definitely do that.
Burnett is one of the most talented pitchers out there, and will be coveted as a free agent unless he gets an extension after a trade this July. I'm not sure he is worthy of a long extension though, due to his inability to adapt his pitching style. The Marlins are trying to get their starters to throw fewer pitches and change their arm slots, but Burnett refuses to listen and continues to use mechanics that have hurt him in the past. He is one to watch, but also could hurt a team with his presence in the long run.