Shortly after news broke that Cole Hamels will not be ready for Opening Day, the Phillies reached agreement on a one-year, $16 million deal with free agent A.J. Burnett. The 37-year-old will now join his fifth MLB team in what will be his 16th professional season.
CSN Philly first had the report on Wednesday afternoon.
Hamels revealed earlier in the day he was behind in his throwing program due to shoulder tendinitis. He is aiming for a late April return.
Without Hamels, the Phillies rotation looked like a concern. Beyond Cliff Lee the Phillies will have Kyle Kendrick and a group of guys battling for the final spots. Adding Burnett gives them a little more stability.
Burnett will also complete a pretty decent trio once Hamels returns. In Lee, Hamels and Burnett, the Phillies will have three accomplished veterans with long track records both in the regular season and the playoffs.
Burnett has been excellent for the last two seasons as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Last year he held a 3.30 ERA through 191 innings, and went 16-10 with a 3.51 ERA the year before.
Burnett had also been linked to the Orioles, Pirates and Nationals. It's hard to imagine, however, that anyone else offered as much as the $16 million Burnett received from Philly.