The Phillies caught a little bit of a break tonight when pitcher A.J. Burnett declined his $12.75 million player option for 2015, by turning down his option, Burnett will become a free agent.

On Saturday, the Phillies and Burnett each declined their $15 mutual options for 2015.

The decision does comes as a little bit of a surprise, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. indicated last week that he expected Burnett to return next season.

There has been speculation that Burnett would either return or retire, that remains to be seen, but it really gives the Phillies some flexibility and the chance to give a younger pitcher a shot this season - one that the Phillies have admitted with be a rebuilding one.

It was a season of struggle for Burnett, who pitched through a sports hernia injury for most of the season, finishing with an 8-18 record, 4.59 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and 190/96 K/BB ratio in 213 2/3 innings.