While the Nats are unlikely to sign free agent starter A.J. Burnett, he may still land in the National League East division. The Phillies are interested in the veteran, and according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, are "very much still in the running" for his services.
Burnett, 37, would be a big addition to the Phillies' rotation which is already very strong at the top. With Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in store, Burnett would project as their No. 3 starter.
Right now the Phillies have Kyle Kendrick slotted third with Roberto Hernandez, Miguel Gonzalez and Jonathan Pettibone expected to compete for the final two spots. Burnett would give them a little more certainty heading into spring with four spots guaranteed.
Burnett has been with the Pirates for the last two seasons, compiling a 3.41 ERA over 61 total starts. He's reinstated himself as a top shelf starter after two consecutive disappointing years (2010-11) with the Yankees.
Burnett has been linked to the Nationals, Orioles and Pirates this offseason, but none of the reports have indicated he was close to signing with a team. Perhaps the Phillies could emerge and become his landing spot.