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A.J. Burnett turned down $12 million from Pirates for $16 million from Phillies

Feb 13, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

burnett getty Getty Images

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has a follow-up to A.J. Burnett signing a one-year, $16 million deal with the Phillies, reporting that the free agent right-hander turned down a one-year, $12 million deal from the Pirates.

At the beginning of the offseason Pittsburgh chose not to make Burnett a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer that would have fetched them draft pick compensation if he signed elsewhere (and likely driven down his market value). And then they failed to match the Phillies’ offer, choosing to let Burnett walk over $4 million after he threw 393 innings with a 3.41 ERA for the Pirates during the past two seasons.

Instead they’ll save money and put a lot of faith in guys like Wandy Rodriguez, Charlie Morton, and Edinson Volquez to fill out the rotation behind Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole, who’s suddenly the No. 2 starter at age 23.

  1. chacochicken - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    A.J. should send the Pirates a million dollars for showing him how pitch and not putting the QO hex on him.
    But good luck with the Phillies, brah.

    • jwbiii - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      If the Pirates had made him a 1/$14m qualifying offer, I think he would have taken it in November. Instead, they jerked him around and he got a better deal.

      • chacochicken - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        The guy that didn’t know if he was retired or not? The Pirates basically saved his career so I hardly think he was jerked around. They took a chance two years ago on a 5 ERA guy and did him a favor but not hanging a qualifying offer around his neck. It seems they simply couldn’t afford 1/14 in the first place.

  2. proudlycanadian - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Does anyone know how much Baltimore offered him? Baltimore was supposed to want him badly.

    • henryd3rd - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      Baltimore would have signed him then Peter Angelos would have their people say he failed their physical. That franchises was once the model for how a team should be run; but now they are a joke. I feel for Buck.

  3. penguins87and71 - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    When he come backs to Pittsburgh this summer I’m going boo the heck out of him. I’m sure most of the stadium will probably boo him. A.J thank you for your service to the Pirates but good riddance.

    • oldschoolnflman - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      What a jackass statement. Aj changed the culture of these losers. Its his last contract, I would take the extra 4 mil he is never gonna get it again.

      • penguins87and71 - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:05 PM

        I don’t buy that load of garbage, AJ never changed the culture in the clubhouse. In fact AJ was never that great of a leader. If he was such a great leader then when why did he pout when he didn’t get the start against the Cardinals in game 5 of the NLDS, I lost a lot of respect for him when he did that. Yes AJ didn’t change the culture of losing. The person who changed the culture of losing was Clint Hurdle, remember the Pirates started to win in 2011, and that’s before AJ Burnett came to the Pirates.

      • thisischavez - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        Well said. You gotta get the money while you can. I’m gonna miss him in black and gold but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. In the end it’s all about him and his family.

    • henryd3rd - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      Duh!!!! Money talks and $4,000,000.00 talks really loud. And I’m sure AJ won’t be loosing much sleep with your threat to boo him.

    • paperlions - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      So you are pissed at a guy for taking $4M extra in what may be the last year of his career, and you are perfectly fine with the Pirates saving $4M and pocketing it? The Pirates, like every other team in MLB, are getting about $25M a year more than they used to with the new national TV deal, plus they get a cut of the MLB.TV money, which grows every year. There is a 0% chance that the owners of the team don’t make 10s of millions of dollars every year, and they still won’t spend a few extra bucks to try to improve their chances of competing this year….it isn’t like they are using that money for other players, they are just pocketing more of it….and this makes you pissed off at the player?

  4. recoveringcubsfan - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Maybe he just wants to hang out with other old dudes and talk about the goddamn kidz who won’t stay off his lawn. And how Ryan Howard does not have a bad contract. And whatever happened to ol’ Roy Halladay, anyway?

    I mean, isn’t that what old baseball players do?

  5. gdobs227 - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    So the 14.1M QO was too much to offer, but 12M was not?

    So the difference between 16M and 12M was enough to make him recant the “Pittsburgh or retire” rhetoric?

    I get the feeling that there is a lot more than meets the eye here.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      $4m is a lot of dough. I think that’s the answer. And yeah, you’re totally right about the QO: if Pittsburgh wouldn’t offer 14.1 and now wants a discount at 12, then that’s crappy and shows how much they value Burnett’s services. There’s no cause for loyalty when someone clearly doesn’t think you’re worth a QO and then is 4m below the offer you got from a team a lot further from contention. Apparently the Pirates think he isn’t as good as whoever else they can get to fill his spot, at no more than $12m. Hope they’re right.

  6. apkyletexas - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Gerrit Cole would have been the #2 starter regardless of what AJ did. By this time next year, he’ll be the #1. AJ was going to be battling Wandy for the #3 or #4 spot, which is why he wasn’t worth $16 million to the Bucs.

  7. ninevegetable - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    I think this is going to end up being a good move for Pittsburgh. Burnett was “washed up” when he came to the Pirates, and he had a couple very good years – but I’m afraid the law of averages is going to catch up with him and he’s not going to do very well this year.

    That said, as a Pirates fan, I have huge respect for what he did for our team and I wish him well (unless he’s pitching against us).

  8. penguins87and71 - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    $ Talks.

  9. ez4u2sa - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    The Phillies are nuts. No way Burnett is worth this kind of money.

    • henryd3rd - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      You’re right he’s not worth it; but what was he suppose to do walk away from that money

    • pastabelly - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      Players will get more for one year deals than they will for multi-year deals. Smart move by the Phillies. If it doesn’t work, they’ll recover a good chunk of it back in a fire sale. The Pirates could have given him a qualifying offer and dumped it at the trading deadline if they didn’t see themselves in playoff position. These small market teams made out big in the new tv deal. If they don’t want to spend, tough crap.

  10. chiadam - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Shocking!! Let me check a few numbers here..

    16 > 12

    ohhhhh, now it makes sense.

  11. thepittsburghkid - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    I keep hearing about TV money, why has the free agent spending has been the same then? I haven’t seen how this TV money has made a difference with any team.

  12. grnthghs - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    Are you faulting A.J. for taking the $4M increase especially since it is probably his last year?

  13. musketmaniac - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    Good luck A.j, and good luck phils. I sincerely hope it works out. Now back to that 12 mil where are the so-called writers and those expert fans who were quick to judge, a 12 million dollar offer was legitimate. no faith fans.

  14. thepittsburghkid - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:13 PM

    They were afraid AJ would accept the offer and they wouldn’t have the funds to explore free agency as they wanted. That’s why he wasn’t given the 14 million QO. This is how small market teams have to operate, it’s not about being cheap. There were several players they were targeting that fell through. You don’t spend money just to spend money, the Pirates have to spend their money wisely and that’s what they are doing.

  15. macjacmccoy - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    Great signing for the Phillies. They arent going to win any championships this year but it increases interest in the team. It doesnt matter if he was 60 years olds the fact that its a one year deal means it wont effect the future. Especially seeing that their arent really anyone coming up whose place he is taking. In fact the only way it can effect the future is positively. Either he does good and they tender him next year and they get a pick for him or they trade him at the deadline and get a prospect for him. They are still under the luxury tax so who cares how much he cost its not like they were going to get anyone else with the money.

    Also if the crazy happens and all the Phillies senior citizens up their play and they actually compete. The Phillies will be better off with A.J. on their roster.

  16. khar9 - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Here comes another 20 years of losing

  17. shimsham9 - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    When Burnett is 9-12 w a 5+ ERA mid-August…….

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