As Major League Baseball’s free agency period gets set to kick off tomorrow at midnight, the Pittsburgh Pirates made a key offseason decision on Monday with free agent pitcher A.J. Burnett.
The Bucs announced that they did not extend a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer to the right-hander, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
pirates officially do not extend qualifying offer to a.j. burnett now. $14.1M is a lot for small market with deep pitching.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 4, 2013
That’s a decision that was expected as it makes little sense to pay Burnett that kind of money, which would be way over market value. The Pirates will still consider signing Burnett, who will turn 37 in January, but $14 million is a large chunk of the payroll for a small market team.
Burnett had a solid 2013 campaign, posting a 3.30 ERA with 9.8 K/9 (the highest rate in the National League), 3.2 BB/9 and a 56.2 percent ground-ball rate in 191 innings in his second season with the Pirates.
The chances of the Pirates re-signing Burnett is likely pretty good as he has publicly stated that his decision this offseason is between returning to the Pirates and retiring.
That being said, the Pirates likely felt that they didn’t need to risk the $14.1MM salary.
If Burnett elects to pitch again, it will likely be on a one-year deal worth somewhere between $8-12 million.