When the Pirates traded for A.J. Burnett in 2012, it was reported that Burnett had recently refused a trade to the Angels because he wanted to remain close to his home in Baltimore. And it is widely believed that Burnett, as a free agent, still wants to stay close to home. That would limit his options to the Orioles, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Yankees, and Pirates.
Roch Kobatko of MASNsports.com wrote on Friday that the Orioles are an unlikely destination for Burnett because there is a feeling that Burnett wants to remain in the National League. That would limit his options to the Mets, Phillies, Nationals, and Pirates.
But Phillies GM Ruben Amaro recently told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, “I think we’ve got what we’ve got . . . I know there are guys out there, but I don’t suspect us having anything major coming through.”
So, Burnett is now down to the Mets, Nationals, and Pirates.
If Burnett wants to finish his career with a team that has a good shot at a championship, then the Mets are out of the A.J. sweepstakes.
And there have been no reports that the Nationals have interest in Burnett.
Could it be that there was no reason for the Pirates to make a $14.1 million qualifying offer to Burnett? Is it possible that the Pirates were his only real option all along?
CAUTION: The only things we know for sure are that the Pirates did not make Burnett a qualifying offer and that Burnett has not yet signed with anybody. Everything remains possible.