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A.J. Burnett isn’t retiring and is open to leaving the Pirates

Jan 28, 2014, 4:44 PM EDT

A.J. Burnett AP

For the past several months the assumption has been that A.J. Burnett would either retire or return to pitch for the Pirates, with calling it a career at age 37 seemingly being in the lead of late.

However, according to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review the free agent right-hander “will return to pitch in 2014” and “will be open to pitching for a club other than the Pirates.”

As both Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez would attest to the free agent pitching market was already very well-stocked for this late in the offseason and Burnett was one of the best starters in the NL last season, throwing 191 innings with a 3.30 ERA and 209 strikeouts.

It’ll be interesting to see if teams are willing to make a multi-year commitment for big money and/or if Burnett is even looking for multiple years considering he apparently gave strong consideration to never pitching again. And because the Pirates didn’t make him a $14.1 million qualifying offer they won’t receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.

  1. cackalackyank - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Isn’t amazing what seeing a guy that hasn’t thrown a pitch in MLB get 22 mil a year will do for a guys motivation to play the game and where he will play it? As far as the FA market for decent starters still being well stocked at this late date, keep in mind the price for a decent FA starter was established less than a week ago.

    • NYTolstoy - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      Money makes the world go round

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:09 PM

      As Ervin and Ublado are still unemployed, I suspect that Tanaka was an outlier.

  2. joecagsblogs - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    I was really hoping he’d come back to the Bucs.

  3. gibbyfan - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    I wonder if he will complete the circuit and go bakc to NY

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:10 PM

      Or Toronto?

      • missthemexpos - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:16 PM

        Better get ready for post-game shaving cream pies!

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 28, 2014 at 8:54 PM

        now your talking id love to see him back with the jays

    • cackalackyank - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:14 PM


  4. missingdiz - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    What were the Pirates thinking?

    • chestergunnnx - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:05 PM

      They were thinking that this guy is too old, bound to break down, failed when they needed him the mos and pouted about being skipped over for game five. Bucs have guts in the system to replace Burnett for way less money.

  5. NYTolstoy - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    I feel as if the bucs were miss led a bit. I believe AJ’s initial report was he was going to retire or go back with the bucs. Now it’s open season and the Bucs look like the odd man out. Though I hold nothing against AJ he has the right to go where he pleases it just seems off. I also say that the Bucs aren’t just naive they seemed to have gone cheap. They haven’t made any big moves and they SHOULD go after a starting pitcher but I think they want the fans to see it as they tried waiting for Burnett which is really a bunch of nonsense. Either way the Bucs should atleast try and give Burnet a good offer to stay, the fans deserve that much. I also don’t see Him getting much offers from the AL after the stint he had with the Yanks that went god awful those last two years.

    • cackalackyank - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      Not every AL town eats people alive like NY does. Keep in mind he got that deal from NY, during the first year of which he was fine, because of how he had pitched in Toronto. …in fact maybe it’s the whiff of Canadian Loonies and Twoonies that have caused Burnett to think about somewhere other than the Steel City.

    • quintjs - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:50 PM

      If I had to bet at the moment, I would say its simply a negoitatiing tactic.

      In waiting to decide the Pirates have to be asking themselves does he really want to pitch? (the article notes that people expected him to retire).

      By putting the word out there that he is coming back, and would consider other teams he is letting the Pirates know he does want to pitch and will go to a new team if need be. The quote was that he would consider other teams as opposed to considering the Pirates. If the Pirates offer a decent deal, I think he signs.

  6. Jeff - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    Reblogged this on Baseballs Bats.

  7. penguins87and71 - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    No surprise here. This is what you get when you only offer a pretty good pitcher only $8.5 million. I don’t blame Burnett for leaving, I blame the Pittsburgh Pirates for going the cheap route again. They can afford a $14.5 million pitcher for one year, with the new tv contract and the playoff run last and also them raising ticket prices, there is NO excuse not to give Burnett what he wants. This is why the Pirates will never win a championship, because they care more about money then winning. I’m done! I hope they suck for another 20 years! Nutting doesn’t deserve it.

  8. hansob - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    sounds like someone realized that eliminating 29 of 30 teams from your list isn’t exactly a good contract negotiation move.

  9. musketmaniac - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    blame game, how. we got two great years out of A.j. He has only a little left in the gas tank. The pirates have Liriano and Cole, who could be cy young candidates. Charlie Morton arguably our best pitcher at the end of the season. locke and volquez very capable. and young guns out the ass

    • yahmule - Jan 28, 2014 at 6:43 PM

      “You can’t quit, you’re fired!”

    • missingdiz - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      Volquez is “very capable” of giving up a lot of runs. He hasn’t been good since 2008.

  10. eddiek77 - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    Every once in a while, a blind squirrel finds an acorn. So it was for the Pirates in ’13. The complete and utter failure to give AJ the incentive to return is incomprehensible to every knowledgeable baseball fan who ISN’T from Pittsburgh. In this town, it is standard operating procedure. It’s all about filling America’s most beautiful ballpark by having fireworks and bobble head nights.

    This failure is just a small microcosm of Pirates ownership for the past 20 years. Profits first and foremost.

    2013 was a year in which everything that could go right DID go right. Whether it was Liriano finding his own self, of guys like Tabata, Snyder or even Barmes occasionally pitching in, it provided a magical year for Pittsburgh. But thanks to the usual penny pinching which is the Nutting style, the clock will strike midnight this year and again, the Pirates will turn into the pumpkins of the NL Central.

    As for AJ, it wasn’t that I was in love with his pitching or that he is Cy Young material, but he was a bulldog that was a team leader, a guy who wanted the ball and someone who showed all of the young talent how to play the game. He’ll make Baltimore a better team, for sure.

  11. yordo - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Nope. He already took an oath of allegiance to Pittsburgh.

  12. musketmaniac - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    penguin its never win a championship again. and your wrong, like every other moron in Pittsburgh. the worst fair weather fan base in the world.

    • eddiek77 - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:50 PM

      I have to laugh at zombies who gleefully salute a winning season and call long suffering fans “fair weather” for calling out ownership on yet more outrageously poor decisions. Dear Lord, is this the best you can do?
      I’ve been a fan for almost 50 years, through good times and bad times. I’m someone who called himself a baseball fan first, even when the Steelers and Penguins were winning, and not someone who just jumped on the bandwagon after a winning year.

      The team has major holes in right field, at first and now in the starting rotation. It has a defensive problem at short, a strikeout problem at third and a consistency problem at second. None of that is fair weathered, it’s just baseball knowledge.

      True contenders see a chance to strengthen their teams and do so. Just look at St.Louis.

      • NYTolstoy - Jan 28, 2014 at 8:02 PM

        Well eddiek when you put it that logical and use facts such as you did you make musketmaniac look like a moron.

        Also though I don’t truly know your pain I did see the 80s Yankees that broke my heart but the past 20 years have been a blessing for me. I have always liked the pirates and rooted for them even through those horrid seasons. I have met a few damn good Pirate fans who have been watching for 20-40 years and I have more respect for them then most of my fellow Yankee fans (no offense guys) you guys represent what true fanatics are all about and I salute you good sir!

  13. jhb64 - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Go mets

  14. musketmaniac - Jan 28, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    and ownerships poor decisions. I get that with McClatchy and the others. However the Nutting should not be confused with the others. pretty strong results so early on the job. A.j. is a very likeable guy and if he goes elsewhere I wish him the best. Key word`if`, He could still be a pirate. the naysayers were quick to call the buccos losers on this. a little premature, very similar to the sex lives of certain posters?

  15. yahmule - Jan 28, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    He timed this just as my pick was coming up in a slow draft.


    Fully aware nobody gives a scheisse.


  16. musketmaniac - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    whats with the censorship, I lost a post. hmm it had something to do with why Snyder was listed as a 2013 contributor, were you even watching last year. And I am not a steeler or penguin fan. I am not even a fan of their sports.

    • yahmule - Jan 28, 2014 at 8:32 PM

      You better stop being controversial!

  17. musketmaniac - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Does anyone remember the fans at three rivers stadium burning cliff stoudt dolls in the stadium. don’t you wonder why old stars never return back to pittsburgh. Terry Bradshaw has publicly condemned the city several times. I don’t even think Cower likes the city. so yea fair weather. though I never pointed my finger, it seems to hit one poster, well.

  18. tndyank - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    If the Pirates are smart they don’t sign him and they go after Morales. They have enough pitching and a lot of depth in the minors so let Burnett burn up with the Orioles in the AL East. The Number one edition that needs to be made is first base and Morales is a great edition because he can hit from both sides, decent glove, in his prime, and most important he fits the attitude of the Pirates. go get him

  19. musketmaniac - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    most teams would be lucky to have him as their no. 5

  20. johnnycantread - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Burnett wants to play in a city that doesn’t have fair weather, homer ding-a-lings for fans.

  21. eddiek77 - Jan 28, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    Let me review for musket-mind and johnnycantthink: The term fair weathered fan does not denote the idea of fans who have been around for decades and withstood Pirates baseball in its leanest times. It doesn’t denote people who go back beyond the drug trial years, or the We Are Family years, or the Lumber Company years, or the Forbes Field Years. How can it? Many, many Pirates fans have been there for the good and for the decades of bad, so try to show some intelligence when you post.
    I think the term “rose colored glasses” fans is more appropriate here. You know, like the ones who say the Nuttings and Neal Huntington have done a remarkable job here so far, or the ones who see Gaby Sanchez as the answer at first, or the ones who say that hey, Jose Tabata is just keeping right field warm until Greg Polanco gets up here and wins the triple crown…next year.
    If nothing else, Burnett was a valuable pitcher in bridging the time until Taillon and Heredia get here. If nothing else. But the rose colored glasses crowd will use playground logic to overlook the stingy, profit-driven owners of the Pirates. They’ll conveniently forget everything before 2013.

    Gotta wonder if you were ever a fan before 2013. Talk about fair-weathered.

  22. musketmaniac - Jan 28, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    I followed all twenty losing seasons, thanks for your concern.still got my teardrops on my bonds jersey when I was 9. thank you

  23. musketmaniac - Jan 28, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    eddi you pathetic little man, what part of pirate baseball were you watching to consider Snyder a contributor, Hello moron

    • eddiek77 - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      musket, since I don’t have a life and either find myself at a game or watching it on TV, let me direct you to our 3rd baseman, Pedro Alvarez, who, in a recorded spot that ran all summer and into fall pointed to a Travis Snyder pinch hit home run in extra innings as being his “favorite moment” of the season.
      Guess Pedro is even more of a pathetic little man and moron, eh?
      I won’t embarrass you any further and quote date, opponent and inning. Perhaps you can do that for yourself.

  24. musketmaniac - Jan 28, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    and we made the playoffs with a hole at first and little early season production at first. maybe management does not resign marlon byrd because they have a healthy Marte. maybe like every off season negotiations A.j. stating this, could be a maneuver.

  25. sawxalicious - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    I think it was a bad move for the Pirates not to make a Qualifying Offer. Burnett likely would have declined it, then they would have gotten some compensation for him leaving…and of he had accepted it, it wouldn’t have been a bad deal for one year. I think they could have done a QO, the clause negating the QO is (I think) only for players traded that season (like Matt Garza),

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