Are Pirates A.J.’s Only Option?

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 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, “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.

416 thoughts on “Are Pirates A.J.’s Only Option?

  1. Hello. I’ve recently started reading your articles and really enjoy them!

    But yeah it’s really interesting that after all the outrage that was spent on the news that he’d consider playing elsewhere, it appears that the Pirates are the favorite once again.

    The Nats are probably so far ahead on the win curve that they just don’t need those extra wins he would provide over Ross Detweiler. projected 88 wins on PECOTA…

    Then again, PECOTA has the pirates so low on the win curve that the pirates shouldn’t really want burnett either…. :( … pecota just hates the pirates’ pitching and AJ wouldnt really do all that much to fix that if they’re already as bad as they say.

    But seriously… the Nats don’t need burnett. but they’d be pretty epic if he was their 5th starter.

    • Thanks.

      It does seem that the Pirates are the favorites for Burnett, but what an outstanding rotation the Nats would have with him.

      It would be crazy to “expect” the Pirates to win 94 games, but PECOTA is off the deep end with a prediction of 78 wins. The Pirates Pythag record (based on runs scored and allowed) was 88-74 last year. Even if we subtract Burnett’s 4 WAR from that total, it still puts the Pirates 6 wins ahead of the PECOTA projection.

  2. I live in the Philly area. You absolutely have to take the reports concerning the Phillies with a grain of salt. They are notorious for saying they are no long interested in a player, or are out on trade talks, only to end up acquiring the said player. This is one of GM Ruben Amaro’s MOs, along with overpaying for over the hill talent.

  3. Hello. I’m sure this is not the correct way to ask this and is not related to AJ at all. With the Owens kid in Zona being such a high profile prospect and Didi Gregorious blocking him currently. I would really be interested in your thoughts on Didi’s value as a bucco. What would it take to get him. When would we be likely to make the move. I’m a huge fan of a defensive wizzard at shortstop soI have the highest hopes that this move happens. Any analysis or even just your thoughts would be much appreciated.

    • I will do some research on Gregorious. Thanks for the request. I appreciate being, given ideas for future posts I do think it is important for the Pirates to have very good fielding at SS, given the high number of groundballs their pitching staff generates.

  4. Richard,

    Who do you refer on the bench Josh Harrison or Emilio Bonifacio who was recently DFAd?

    Bonifacio has a career .662 OPS. He is only 28 and has 138 career stolen bases.

  5. At second base last year Josh Harrison was a 13.6 UZR/150 and Bonifacio was 0.9 UZR/150.

    In the outfield Harrison was -106.9 in 2013 and Bonifacio was -8.9.

    OK, both Harrison and Bonifacio are terrible.

  6. As of last night it sounded like the Phils are still in the running for AJ. That would be an odd match. Sure, I cannot fault someone for taking the big bucks, but it seems to go against everything he wanted, aside from being close to his family.

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