* A.J. Burnett signed with the Phillies today. This whole situation was really odd. It makes the Pirates look cheap no matter how you shake it. GM Neil Huntington just released a statement saying the reason they didn't offer him a qualifying offer in the first place was that they felt 14 million was too much for one guy. That is all fine and dandy but the Pirates are in a unique situation where the value of a win is very high. A player like Burnett can make the difference between a playoff team and finishing a few games out. The Pirates are coming off a hugely successful season, so you have to think some money was available.
The flip side of the story is what was motivating Burnett to sign elsewhere. He is always adamant that he is motivated by family and not money. If you believe the rumors, the teams actively pursuing Burnett were the Pirates, Orioles, Phillies and Nationals. It was always assumed that the Orioles were the front runners as he is from the Baltimore area and they have a huge need at starting pitcher. Why did he pick the Phillies? That is the million dollar question. Seems odd to pick a team that is likely not to be a contender, have a subpar defense and a park that gives up a lot of homeruns. Did he chase the most money? That will make for interesting debate.
* I've been opening a fair amount of boxes with friends lately after taking a 5 year break. I used to get so pissed off when I didn't pull something decent that I had to give it up. I put all my focus into my Pirate and WVU collections. Our new system is keeping the boxes below $70 bucks. We figure that price is low enough that if we don't get a decent hit it won't piss us off. We have been having a blast. I'll be posting some more trade bait this weekend.