MLB News and Rumors 2014: Philadelphia Phillies' A.J. Burnett to Retire?
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher A.J. Burnett has been struggling this season, and the veteran right hander is not sure whether or not he will be back again next season as he is already considering retirement.
Burnett, who is 6-14 this season with a measly 4.42 ERA, said in a recent interview that he might not return to pitch for the Phillies or any other team next season.
"I have no idea," Burnett said when asked about returning next season. "Probably not, but we'll see."
The 37-year-old has been struggling to find his rhythm this season, as proven by his league-leading 76 walks allowed. On Tuesday's 5-2 loss against the Seattle Mariners, Burnett admitted that he was disappointed with his performance.
"I'm not making pitches when I need to make pitches," Burnett said via Philly.com. "I did earlier in the year. When I walked some guys and got in a jam I was able to make pitches."
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg conceded that Burnett was off target against the Mariners, but he quickly added that the 37-year-old still has the tools that will make him an effective pitcher.
"He just wasn't in the strike zone right from the bullpen," Sandberg said. "His stuff is still good. His breaking pitch and velocity is good. It's just more of an execution thing and getting ahead of hitters."
Burnett's statement about his future in Philadelphia stirred different reactions online, but most analysts are still convinced that the 16-year-veteran will give it another try next season.
Marc Narducci of Philly.com said that fans should not be surprised if Burnett will have a change of heart, considering the amount of salary he would get if he returns for another season.
"The 27th start that Burnett just made increased his player option in 2015 to $10 million. It goes to 11.75 million with 30 starts and $12.75 million with 32 starts," Narducci wrote. "No matter how much an athlete has earned, that is a lot of money to turn down, especially for somebody like Burnett who still insists he can pitch at a high level."
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