A.J. Burnett is quoted in today's Post as saying that he would "absolutely" consider coming to the Nationals next year. Burnett is a free agent at the end of this year, which, for him, came yesterday when Jack McKeon kicked him off the team. It was an odd ending to what should have been a great relationship between a potentially great pitcher and a young team. Instead, the Marlins look like they're in total disarray.
As Rowland's Office notes, Burnett has had a rocky relationship with the Marlins' seventy-something manager. How do you think that bodes for a Robinson-Burnett combo?
The Nationals nevertheless have to go after Burnett in the off-season. Burnett's 2005 stats are good: 7.92 H/9, 3.40 BB/9, 8.53 K/9, 0.52 HR/9, 3.44 ERA. He'll be the best pitcher on the market, and he has absolutely electric stuff. His fastball regularly reaches the high-nineties, and his breaking ball buckles the knees of many a hitter. On the right team Burnett could be a superstar.
With Burnett as their number 1 or 2 starter, the Nationals would have a rotation of Burnett, Patterson, Hernandez, Loaiza, and Carrasco. That would be an awesome starting rotation and one of the strongest in the majors. We have some doubt about whether the Nationals can or should sign Loaiza, but that's for a post later today.