Burnett Hasn’t Given Pirates Any Indication on His Plans

Jon Morosi reports that A.J. Burnett hasn’t given the Pittsburgh Pirates any indication on his plans for the 2014 season.

It seems that Burnett is still deciding between retirement or playing with the Pirates. The big question is, how long do the Pirates wait? I don’t think they need to rush right now to get an answer from Burnett, but at some point they need to make a move. If they wait too long (and by too long, I mean at some point in early-to-mid December), they could lose out on some potential replacements for Burnett. I profiled a few bounce back candidates this morning.

On Friday, Huntington told David Todd that the Pirates can’t afford $14 M for Burnett. You could look at that two ways. One is the basic “the Pirates can’t afford $14 M for any player”. The other is that they have a plan for this off-season involving multiple positions, and they only have a certain amount budgeted for that starting pitcher spot — whether it’s Burnett or a bounce back guy. In previous years the bounce back candidates have been signed later in the off-season. The Pirates traded for Burnett in late January, and signed Francisco Liriano in the third week of December (followed by the restructuring of his deal that led to his official signing a month later). There will still be some bounce back pitchers available around the winter meetings, but the Pirates would have to address other positions by that point, which means they’d need a good idea of their budget and what they were going to spend on that one rotation spot.

  • So hypothetically AJ signs and you’ve got Liriano, Burnett, Cole and Morton locking down 4 spots. You don’t think Locke, Wandy, Cumpton, Johnson, Taillon or is worthy of stepping in that 5th spot? They all have their cons whether it the fact that they faded, arthritis, inexperience or Super Two (in that order). But I’d like to see them get one starter whether it be AJ or someone else and try and see what they have in AAA before they go out and get another Correia or Bedard. Plus I’d really like to give Locke another chance or at least find out who the real pitcher is or can he make adjustments. I realize you could throw Kingham in there but I’d imagine they’d go to a Cumpton or Johnson option before him just based on experience.

  • If AJ does resign you have to think they’re done looking for starters right? They’d have Liriano, Cole, AJ, Morton and Locke. Wandy could be a 6th if we get anything from him. Add in Cumpton, K Johnson and Gomez as spot starters, Taillon later. I get that Locke faded, Wandy is a huge wildcard and injuries happen but how many starters would we really look for this offseason?

    • Even AJ comes back, I want to sign a starter. You can never have too much pitching. There will be injuries this year, there always are. Jeff Locke collapsed last year, and there is zero reason to believe he’ll bounce back since his peripherals said he should have been struggling all season. Wandy a huge wildcard. Go sign a starter.

    • I would imagine you are right. I know starting depth is important and all but assuming the Pirates resign AJ that gives them 16 starting options either at the beginning or middle of next year. I would think that is a reasonable stable.


      At the beginning of the year it appears Liriano, Cole, Burnett, Morton, Rodriguez, Locke, Irwin, Cumpton, Johnson, Gomez, Wilson and Pimentel will all be ready so even with injuries that gives the Pirates 12 arms to rely upon. The Pirates will also probably add an NRI or two capable of starting. I know anything can happen but that seems relatively decent.