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Would A.J. Burnett pull a Roger Clemens?

Nov 10, 2013, 4:15 PM EDT

a.j. burnett getty Getty Images

A.J. Burnett is a 36-year-old free agent with over $120 million in career earnings and is considering retiring to spend more time with his family. He has stated publicly that if he does pitch in 2014, it will only be for the Pirates. But the veteran right-hander isn’t going to take a pay cut after a superb 2013.’s Tom Singer has an idea that might make everybody comfortable:

Burnett is torn between his real family and the Pirates family? Neither professional pride — nor, for that matter, the union — would let him take a pay slash?

Burnett could satisfy both of those conditions by making a midseason return, a la Roger Clemens a few years back. That would allow Burnett family time, and for the Bucs to shoehorn the prorated portion of an eight-figure salary into their budget. And, just in case a jolt is needed both in the clubhouse and at the gate, imagine the impact of a mid-June Burnett landing.

Clemens posted a 2.30 ERA (194 ERA+) in 19 starts with the Astros in 2006 after inking a one-year deal in late May and a 4.18 ERA (108 ERA+) in 18 appearances with the Yankees in 2007 after signing May 6.

Burnett had a 3.30 ERA (107 ERA+) and 209 strikeouts in 191 innings this past year for Pittsburgh.

  1. tfbuckfutter - Nov 10, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Is Burnett willing to inject Moose semen directly into his pituitary gland also?

    Because you know….his willingness to pull out all the stops may play a role in if he can “pull a Roger Clemens”.

    • tfbuckfutter - Nov 10, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      I don’t know why I capitalized “moose” but I mean the animal and not Mike Mussina, but either way you want to read it is ok with me.

      • jcmeyer10 - Nov 10, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        Literally laughed out loud.

      • pipkin42 - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:05 PM

        me too. comment of the week!

      • deacon85 - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        I’m done reading any other comments, nothing is going to come close to being as funny as that!

  2. 18thstreet - Nov 10, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    In my book, pulling a Clemens is coming up small when your team needs you the most. I’d say Burnett already has.

    • djpostl - Nov 10, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      Not a big fan of this headcase but Game 2 of 2009 WS says different. Yankees lose that game (after CC lost game1) and they’re toast. AJ came up big.

    • jwbiii - Nov 10, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      Burnett is a free agent. There is no “his team.”

      • rpearlston - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:54 PM

        And his contract year is the only year in which he actually pitches well. We saw that all too clearly in Toronto, and it was the same thing in NY. Now, he’s done it in Pittsburgh, too. No suprise.

    • jonusb - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      Oh yeah, Clemens came up small all the time when the team needed him the most. Like in Game 4 of the 2000 ALCS when he threw a 15k 1-hitter against the Mariners at Safeco Field.

      • 18thstreet - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:56 AM

        As a Red Sox fan, I have a different perspective.

  3. irvin12589 - Nov 10, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    120 million in career EARNINGS not innings. Great grammar there Mr. Reporter man.

    • sfs1 - Nov 10, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      $120 million worth of career innings!

      • Drew Silva - Nov 10, 2013 at 5:56 PM

        Gah, thanks.

      • irvin12589 - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:57 PM


  4. sfm073 - Nov 10, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    He’ll have a terrible season next year if he does pitch.

  5. kappy32 - Nov 10, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Clemens was able to do that because he was so great. Burnett is no Roger Clemens, sorry. Teams can do without him if he doesn’t want to be part of the team.

  6. theskinsman - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Is AJ planning on banging underage country singers,doing roids and being a general douche bag? I can’t see why he’d want to be like Roidger.

  7. Carl Hancock - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    AJ is not Clemens. Not going to work. Eve pre-PED’s Clemens. Sorry. AJ isn’t a top tier consistent lights out pitcher. Not going to work. But being a Cards fan I hope the Pirates are dumb enough to do it.

  8. sabatimus - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    I thought this was going to be about steroids, perjury, and statutory rape.

  9. henryjones20 - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    don’t get down drew, I understood everything. lol tough crowd.

  10. steelers88 - Nov 10, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    If I were the Pirates I would only sign AJ for one season. Glassnow and Taillon are really close to the majors. In a few years the Pirates pitching staff is going to be scary. Cole, Taillon, Glassnow, Kingam, and Morton.

  11. thevauntedchris - Nov 10, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    people have a short memory about that game Burnett pitched in the world series. could have easily been pulled in the first inning had Granderson not made that catch.

  12. straightouttavtown - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    didn’t exactly work out for Roy Oswalt last year

  13. drewzducks - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:37 AM

    Too soon for a Mindy McCready reference ?

  14. lonelylibertarian - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    This would be silly – AJ is worth $14 M – or more in today’s market.

    The Pirates should either meet his price or he is free to go on his way.

  15. bigyankeemike - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:30 AM


  16. genericcommenter - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    To really “pull a Clemens” he would have to accept a retirement gift from the Pirates, then sign with another team the next season and stay 3 years, THEN come back to the Pirates for a mediocre half season 4 years after retiring.

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