Jump to content

AJ willing to close in the future


Recommended Posts

sort of an odd thought, but for whatever it's worth....


Burnett willing to become closer


By Joe Capozzi, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, September 25, 2003


Marlins starter A.J. Burnett coming back from Tommy John surgery to become Florida's closer next year?


"I'd do it in a heartbeat if they asked me,'' Burnett said Wednesday after playing catch at 60 feet for the third time in the past week after undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery in April.


"A lot of people have asked me. Some of my teammates, people in stands. 'What if you came back as closer next year?' I wouldn't mind doing that. I'd rather go out there and pitch one through nine, but if they asked me I'd do it.''


Burnett hopes to throw bullpen sessions in January with a goal of being Florida's opening-day starter April 6 against the Montreal Expos.


IMO, if Burnett comes back healthy from Tommy John surgery, I want him in the rotation, not as a closer. I have little doubt he'd be a dominant closer, but the starter is more important.


One idea though is if he's not ready to start the year & comes back in the middle of the season they could use him in the pen to help him come back slowly. 1 inning every so often maybe...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mixed thoughts on it....Depends on the scenario when he comes back...


Hate to keep him out of rotation (Beckett, AJ, Willis, Penny, Redman)


but...if Uggy is gone, I'd like to see AJ become a Smoltz lights-out closer...Looper appears to be damamged goods again (a shame since he was effective most of the year) going back to his sheepish "I'm lost out here" grin look...the closer mentality just isn't there right now for him...would AJ develope one? don't know


tough call...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's another significant component of Burnet's comment, unsaid but pivotal.


AJ says "...I wouldn't mind doing that. I'd rather go out there and pitch one through nine, but IF THEY ASKED ME I'D DO IT.''


Putting aside for a minute AJ's own economic best interest, which is to have a long and financially rewarding career, clearly he no longer harbors any animousity towards the Marlin's ownership/management. That's the unsaid but most important thing one should walk away with after reading this article.


My guess is that upon reflection of his own behavior before and right after being placed on the diabled list, combined with time to assess with his doctors what the team really knew and didn't know, and the opportunity to be part of what's happened this year (albeit from the bench), he has rejoined the Marlins camp and wants very much to stay here and be part of this team for years to come.


I say this is extraordinarily good news. AJ as a closer! Just close your eyes for a minute and remember what Bryan Harvey meant to this team in '93, a stone cold killer (ala Gagne) coming out of the pen every night to shut down the other team. AJ is such a competitor, that look he showed when he knew he owned the other team, the way he would abuse them with his stuff, leaving them frustrated and demoralized, talking to themselves like we were used to watching Preston Wilson do as he made his way back to the dugout after being humiliated again and again at the plate. You want a guy like AJ being the last thing your opponents see of you in a loss. If the Marlins have learned anything in their march to the playoffs is to go for the throat, it's not good enough to just win, you have to defeat the other team, you have take control of their heads, you have make them believe they can't beat you.


AJ can do that for us coming out of the pen. It's a good fit and frankly I think it might be best for him and his career. What started out as a terrible situation may turn out to be a win/win for both AJ and The Fish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...