Burnett leaves Nats for Angels

Burnett leaves Nats for Angels
December 5, 2012, 6:00 pm
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nationals resigned themselves earlier this week to the fact they were going to lose Sean Burnett to free agency. In the end, they might have been surprised to learn the price to re-sign the left-hander wasn't terribly steep.

Burnett and the Angels came to terms today on a two-year contract with a club option for 2015, a source familiar with the deal confirmed. Total guaranteed money is $8.5 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Burnett had been a mainstay in the Nationals' bullpen over the last 3 1/2 seasons, a durable and often dominant lefty who posted a combined 2.81 ERA and nine saves over 245 appearances since his acquisition from the Pirates in July 2009.

The Nationals, though, never seemed all that keen on giving Burnett, 30, any kind of long-term commitment and declared themselves out of the running for him on Monday.

At the time, speculation was that the reliever could command a three-year deal from one of eight teams interested in his services, perhaps matching the $18 million contract Jeremy Affeldt received from the Giants last month.

The deal Burnett eventually agreed to, however, came in much lower. While Affeldt and 37-year-old Randy Choate (Cardinals) got three guaranteed years, Burnett got only two guaranteed years with a club option.

The Nationals still need another left-hander for their bullpen and they appear to have their sights on J.P. Howell. The 29-year-old posted a 3.04 ERA in 55 appearances with the Rays last season, though he totaled only 50 1/3 innings because he rarely faced more than one or two batters.