Like they have been doing since about late November, early December, the Pirates continue to prepare for the season with the mindset that A.J. Burnett won’t be resigned.
Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage appearing on 937 The Fan this morning, reiterated that stance.
“I’m on the percentage point where he’s not going to come back,” Searage told the morning show. “I’ve got to prepare my guys with no A.J. I’ve got to prepare the pitching with no A.J. So that’s the route I’m going. If he does come back — hey, all right! But right now, I’m leaning that way, where he’s going to retire.”
Don’t buy into this retirement talk. Money was always going to be the deciding factor for Burnett and the Pirates knew it. Pittsburgh made a one year, $10 million offer in December knowing it was going to be rejected. Makes you think, do they really want him back?
Once the Pirates decided to not qualify Burnett at $14.1 million, the writing was on the wall that he wasn’t coming back.
The Pirates haven’t spent much this off-season but signing Edinson Volquez to a $5 million contract over one year, has the chance to really backfire on them and be a situation of wasteful spending. Some in the industry like Keith Law felt Volquez should have received a minor league contract.
The better move for the Pirates would have been using that $5 million and upping Burnett’s offer to $15 million. Bet he’d be signed if they did.
The Pirates go into spring training with a rotation of Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton, 1-3, with Wandy Rodriguez (healthy concerns), Jeff Locke, and Edinson Volquez as major wildcards. The Pirates won’t be paying Volquez $5 million to not be in the rotation so as long as Rodriguez’s health checks out, Volquez and Rodriguez are likely to fill the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in the rotation.