A.J. Burnett made $16.5 million in 2013. The Pirates, though, only paid the 36 year old pitcher $8 million of his $16.5 million salary with the Yankees picking up $8.5 million of it.
Are the Pirates ready to nearly double what they were paying Burnett last season?
That’s the million dollar question when it comes to Burnett’s future with the team. Pirate officials are anticipating a tough negotiation with the Pirates already expecting Burnett to seek around $15 million per season. The team does not plan to make Burnett a qualifying offer of $14.1 million.
Burnett has floated around the retirement talk but few are buying it and believe he will seek one last big pay day.
How high the Pirates are willing to go will be interesting with some high ranking officials tired of Burnett’s act and there’s also talk of Burnett not being the great teammate behind the scenes that the media tries to portray him as.
$10 million is a number going around on the Pirates end.
If Burnett doesn’t return, pending a free agent or trade acquisition, the Pirates starting rotation figures to shakeout with Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton, Wandy Rodriguez and a bunch of question marks.
If Wandy Rodriguez is fully healthy and the pitcher he was prior to getting injured, a staff of Cole, Liriano, Morton and Rodriguez would be a solid group going into next season.
Top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon will also be in the mix to join the rotation by June or July. The Pirates can get by without Burnett who turns 37 in January.
The Pirates expect their payroll to increase with raises coming for the likes of Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, among others.