Clint Hurdle was on 93.7 The Fan this afternoon and said that there is still a chance that the Pirates could sign the right-hander.
Hurdle tells @937theFan the team is having dialogue with A.J. Burnett: "There's still a chance." Hurdle also said team has a deadline
— Dan Zangrilli (@DanZangrilli) December 6, 2013
This gives a good opportunity to analyze where Burnett currently stands. At the beginning of the off-season, he said he was deciding between retiring and returning to the Pirates. Since that time, the only thing that has happened is that the Pirates didn’t make him a qualifying offer, and said they can’t afford him at $14.1 M.
I don’t think Burnett has changed his stance on only returning to the Pirates. If that were the case, I think we would have heard rumors by now that other teams were talking to Burnett. Also, while the Pirates aren’t willing to pay $14.1 M for Burnett, I’m sure other teams would be willing to pay more than that. If this was a situation where Burnett was just waiting to get paid, and he was open to signing with anyone, I think he would have signed with someone by now. That’s especially true with how many early moves we’ve seen.
For that reason, it seems Burnett is still deciding between retiring and returning to the Pirates. My feeling all along in this process is that he has made enough money in his career that he doesn’t seem likely to be swayed by a few million dollars. So I don’t think that the Pirates offering a few million more is going to make his decision.
I wouldn’t count out Burnett returning to the Pirates. That said, I wouldn’t place the odds that high, especially since he’s still deciding on whether to return.