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O's miss out on Burnett, what's next?

A.J. Burnett spurned the Orioles for the Phillies.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies signed free agent pitcher A.J Burnett to a one-year contract worth $16 million, meaning the Baltimore Orioles are now running out of options for their starting rotation.

Burnett appeared to be the O's main target all offseason, but it was complicated by the fact that the veteran seemed to be leaning toward retirement until fairly recently.

The Orioles seemed undeterred by Burnett's indecision and were willing to wait him out, which ultimately paid off in some sense considering the right-hander ultimately decided to pitch in 2014.

Burnett's agent indicated that his decision to spurn Pittsburgh for Philadelphia had to do with being closer to his family, an interesting comment given that he lives in Monkton, MD.

It would certainly seem as though the Orioles would have been the perfect choice for Burnett if he was putting the proximity of his family to his new team as the main deciding factor.

It makes you wonder if the Orioles simply weren't willing to match or beat Philadelphia's offer, or maybe he didn't want to play in Baltimore. The two parties have crossed past several times before, whether it be in free agency or a trade, but never agreed to a deal.

The two best remaining options are Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana. Both are far from perfect options and would cost the Orioles a first-round draft pick were they to sign either pitcher.

Jimenez probably has more upside, and both pitchers showed flashes last year that they could be quality additions to the team's starting rotation.

However, the loss of a draft pick is tough to swallow, especially for a team that seems to be functioning more and more like a small-market team.

If the Orioles can't afford, or simply don't care, to retain players like Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, holding onto their draft picks seems like a no-brainer.

Maybe the club will ultimately save the money it could spend on Jimenez or Santana and use it to re-sign Davis or Wieters, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

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