Sep 21, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) delivers a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates don't make qualifying offer to A.J. Burnett

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.

 

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.

Of the Pirates seven free agents, the Pirates also could have made Clint Barmes and Jeff Karstens qualifying offers, but elected to allow both players test the free agent market as well.

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Tags: A.J. Burnett Pittsburgh Pirates

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