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Pirates still waiting to hear from A.J. Burnett

Dec 8, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

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Free agent right-hander A.J. Burnett has said publicly and privately that he will either pitch for the Pirates in 2014 or retire from baseball for good. The Bucs want him back and are prepared to commit a significant portion of their budget to the cause, but the 36-year-old has not made an official decision about his future and so the cost-conscious Pittsburgh front office is having to set aside other potential offseason moves. It’s not a great situation.

“We’re continuing to try to be respectful of the process,” general manager Neal Huntington told Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “This is a huge decision for A.J. I can’t imagine there’s anything worse for an athlete to hang it up a year too early. He’s earned the right to take his time … but we will come to the point where A.J. will have to make a decision or we will have to make a decision.”

Burnett posted an impressive 3.30 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 30 starts this past season for the Pirates, striking out 209 batters in 191 innings. Losing that type of impact would obviously be detrimental to the club’s chances of again challenging for the National League Central crown.

  1. gdobs227 - Dec 8, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Check your watch AJ. It’s time to crap or get off the pot.

  2. leylandshospicenurse - Dec 8, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    My guess is that time will be when Tanaka gets posted.

  3. florida76 - Dec 8, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    This blog, among many in the national and local media has had a tendency to paint a negative view of the Pirates, based on the old losing streak. The narrative has been one of hopelessness, based on the constant negativity.And despite the convincing destruction of the streak, old habits die hard.

    In fact, the organization has known for several months about Burnett’s situation, so they’ve had plenty of time to prepare for different scenarios. In a perfect world, Burnett would have notified the Pirates right after the club pushed St. Louis to the brink of elimination, but he isn’t the first or last athlete to agonize over this difficult decision. Burnett had a good season, but at his age, it’s far from assured a decline in performance isn’t coming.

    It would have been more accurate to talk about losing Burnett’s impact in March, not in December, before the club has had a chance to make some moves. Assuming Burnett does leave, it’s worth noting Cole should improve, and the club has even younger pitching on the way. And other young position players should improve as well. What happened in 2012 is as relevant moving forward as 8 track tapes are today, so let’s try to be more balanced in our reporting.

  4. cackalackyank - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Wait! I get it. AJ is waiting to see what kind of offer he is going to get from the Yankees! I kid. …..although it happened with Javier Vasquez.

  5. drone501 - Dec 8, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    don”t think the pirates are offering seattle money thank god.

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