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News » Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch 2008-11-07

Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch 2008-11-07

Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch 2008-11-07
A.J. Burnett will spend some time in Baltimore this offseason, but there's no guarantee he'll sign a contract with the Orioles.

Burnett, who has a home in northern Baltimore County, opted out of his contract recently, making him a free agent. The former Toronto right-hander is expected to be one of the most sought-after pitchers on the market, behind left-hander CC Sabathia.

Orioles president Andy MacPhail spent much of the general manager meetings speaking with agents, and he is likely to go into discussions with Burnett's agent, Darek Braunecker.

Burnett is one of two high-profile free agents with ties to Baltimore. He's not native to Maryland, instead putting down roots because his wife is from the area. The Orioles are also expected to pursue first baseman Mark Teixeira, who is from Severna Park, Md., and played high school baseball at Mount St. Joseph, which is only a few miles from Camden Yards.

Burnett, who turns 32 in January, forfeited $24 million in guaranteed money when he opted out of the final two years of his five-year, $55 million contract. He went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA in 34 starts with Toronto and led the American League with 231 strikeouts. It's possible he'll return to Toronto.

Burnett has a history of injuries, but after a breakout season, he should command top dollar on the free agent market. The Orioles will have to contend with big-pocket clubs such as the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets to lure Burnett. It's more likely the Orioles will pursue two mid-level pitchers.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: November 7, 2008

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