First Pitch

First Pitch: What Would it Take to Extend A.J. Burnett?

First Pitch: What Would it Take to Extend A.J. Burnett?

Last night I wrote about how Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett are the 1-A and 1-B when it comes to Pirates aces. I also said that I feel Liriano has passed Burnett as the Pirates ace. Typically, Burnett would follow that up with a complete game gem, allowing one run and striking out nine. After the game, Clint Hurdle was asked about the possibility that the Pirates have two aces.

"Frankie set the bar in a good place for us the other night and A.J. just pushed it up," Hurdle said.

I still believe that Liriano is the top pitcher right now, especially with the "left-hander in PNC Park" factor, but it's splitting hairs. Either way, the Pirates have two really good pitchers. But only one of those pitchers is under team control beyond the 2013 season. Liriano has a vesting option for the 2014 season, while Burnett is a free agent after the year.

Currently the Pirates have everyone in the current rotation under team control in 2014, except Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez. Rodriguez has...

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Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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