The Pittsburgh Pirates had a lot of controversy surrounding their starting rotation this off-season. They declined to make A.J. Burnett a qualifying offer, believing him when he said that he would either return to Pittsburgh or retire. It appears they opted to go for an off-season plan that would have added James Loney at first base and Josh Johnson in the rotation for the same amount as the qualifying offer to Burnett. However, both players signed elsewhere.
The Pirates opted to sign Edinson Volquez, and eventually Burnett went on to sign a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. The decision to sign Volquez, even before Burnett was off the market, sparked the controversy. The right-hander is coming off a season where he had a 5.71 ERA in 170.1 innings between the Padres and Dodgers. His xFIP was much lower, at 4.07, indicating that he might have been better than the overall results.
The gap between the ERA and xFIP for Volquez put him in a similar situation as Francisco Liriano an...
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.