A report surfaced Thursday morning that the Orioles had made a one-year offer to veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett. Welcome to the Hot Stove season.
Burnett being linked to the Orioles seems to be an annual occurrence. And the connections are there. He lives in Monkton and wants to pitch for a contender close to home.
But an Orioles official said Thursday that the team has not made Burnett an offer.
At this point, it just doesn't make sense from the Orioles' perspective. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has said he wants to upgrade the team's pitching, but the focus is on the bullpen and not the rotation.
The Orioles currently have enough rotation candidates, enough that they might consider moving one if they're forced to make payroll room for several hefty arbitration raises and the chase for re-signing Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz.
The existing starting rotation of Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Bud Norris and Kevin Gausman figure to make significant raises. Norris is in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility, and Tillman and Gonzalez will reap the benefits of the arbitration process for the first time.
And the Orioles already need to figure out what to do with right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who has three years remaining on a four-year, $50 million deal that he signed in February. If teams are interested in Jimenez, you'd think the Orioles would listen. But even then, it doesn't seem like they'd be interested in a veteran like Burnett.
At age 37, Burnett was 8-18 with a 4.59 ERA with the Philadelphia Phillies. He led the National League with 34 starts and pitched 213 2/3 innings, but also allowed a league-high 109 earned runs and 96 walks.
Burnett and the Phillies both declined a mutual option that would have paid him $15 million next year.
The Orioles had interest in Burnett last offseason, but there was concern about Burnett coming back to the American League East and pitching in hitter-friendly Camden Yards. It also took until February for Burnett to actually decide that he wanted to pitch in 2014.