There are still a few free agent pitchers out there on the market, but because of the Texas Rangers situation with Derek Holland they are not looking at spending a bunch of money to bring in a top of the rotation starter. They were looking at Jerome Williams, who has since signed with the Astros. So who is in the Texas Rangers budget that may be worth a chance this close to spring training? Well the name A.J. Burnett comes to mind.
I have personally never been a big fan of Burnett, but he had a very good season in 2013 for the Pirates. In fact, his two years with Pittsburg went very well indeed for him. Burnett was 26-21 with a 3.41 ERA, the lowest of his career. He also struck out 389 batters while walking just 191. The 37-year-old right hander might be worth taking a chance on as a possible fifth starter while the Texas Rangers are waiting or Derek Holland to get better, he also might be a good back up plan is one of the young guys gets the spot but struggles early. Burnett has a higher ERA in the American League (4.37 ERA in the AL as opposed to a 3.57 in the NL), but that doesn’t mean it would be a bad idea to pick him up. I know that the Orioles and the Rays are also interested in him, the Phillies were but are not anymore.
Burnett brings a passion to the game and an excitement that you don’t see very often from a pitcher, and his emotions on the mound was one of the things that I did not like about him when he played against the Texas Rangers, but it would turn out to be one of the things I would probably like about him if he signed with the Texas Rangers. I don’t know how likely Burnett would be to sign with the Rangers, but it is another one of those names to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.