Not that there was necessarily any truth to the rumors of Sean Burnett wanting a four-year contract, but I was a little bit surprised that he didn’t even get three. The Angels have officially signed Burnett to a two-year contract that will pay him $8 million over that span. The Angels hold a club option that could make a third year possible. Maybe Burnett figured he was better off to go with a higher average annual value and set himself up with a bigger payday down the road, or maybe guaranteed three-year deals weren’t there for the taking since Ned Colletti is preoccupied with other things. Who knows?!
Burnett, who just turned 30 on the birthday he shares with me, had an excellent season in 2012. The southpaw put up a 2.38 ERA, 2.79 FIP, and 2.84 xFIP across 56 2/3 innings, and he was even better two seasons ago in 2010. He can neutralize lefties, hold his own against righties, and carry a larger workload than other guys on the free agent market who are at least somewhat considered specialists. Consistency has felled Burnett, however, as his two excellent seasons were both preceded by terrible ones. Odds are we should just look at him as a left-handed reliever who’s better than average.
I don’t necessary ever think there’s a reason to give a relief pitcher all that much money. They’re almost entirely unpredictable, and a lot of that comes from how few innings they actually take the mound in a season. Then again, their low innings totals are just another reason not to pay them exorbitant amounts of cash. Still, the Angels could have done worse on this one. If Burnett is less successful than what the team wanted, at least they’re only committed for two years instead of three or four, and at least he’s not making Jeremy Affeldt money. Once again (I feel like I’ve been saying this repeatedly in our transaction posts), do yourself a favor and check out Spencer’s post on the Cardinals’ interest in Burnett to get a more comprehensive view of the left-hander.