Not so long ago, AJ Burnett was the No. 2 starter in the rotation that helped the team win a World Series. Since then, Burnett has been in a sort of limbo, providing mostly poor numbers with the occasional great start from time to time.
However, with two new pitchers coming aboard, both of whom are of better quality than Burnett has been of late, his rotation spot is in jeopardy.
After going 13-9 in 2009, Burnett's numbers have been pretty weak. He went 10-15 in 2010 and 11-11 in 2011.
All of this will likely be cast aside in spring training, and he will have to prove himself in the battle for the fifth spot.
I'm rooting for Burnett. I've always given him the benefit of the doubt, and I know he has the talent. But he has to prove he can do it.
I really think Burnett will do what he needs to do to earn the spot, although that will probably just be the bare minimum. With his potential, his ability to eat up innings and his huge salary, he likely has a leg up on his competition for the fifth spot.