His uncertain status wasn't that big of a deal in recent weeks, since the free-agent pitching market was in limbo while all of baseball waited for a decision from Masahiro Tanaka. With Tanaka committed to the Yankees, and other pitching dominoes starting to fall, we're now learning more about Burnett's plan.
A unnamed source told Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Burnett plans to pitch in 2014. However — and here's where things get interesting — it's sounding like Burnett has backed away from his two-option plan. There's a third option. Go someplace else.
Maybe, at age 37, coming off a season in which he earned $16.5 million, Burnett wants to dip his toes back in the free-agent pool one last time. From Sawchik's story:
Since Burnett had a 3.30 ERA last season and 202 strikeouts, the tenth most in baseball, there will be buyers. He's useful. The aforementioned Orioles and Phillies are on the need-pitching list, so are the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays.
The Pirates, of course, are high on the list too. It's not going to be easy for Pittsburgh to build on the momentum from its special 2013 season, but it would be harder without Burnett.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- A.J. Burnett