As Pitching Market Heats Up, It's Time To Get A.J. Burnett Deal Done


May 24, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett pitches in the 1st inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH-Drew Brown.

As a steady follower of the MLB free agent hot stove, I’ve noticed an ongoing theme these past couple weeks: veteran pitchers getting big time extensions. The one guy who hasn’t popped up in anything yet is the beloved A.J. Burnett, who most Pirate fans would love to see suited back up in the black and gold for another year, or maybe even two. Here’s a list of some free agent pitchers who have signed deals with other teams, and after reading these, you have to think the Pirates paying Burnett what he wants might be worth it.

Scott Kazmir

After roughly three years of not throwing a pitch in the MLB, Kazmir had a decent bounce back season with the Cleveland Indians, and he was given a healthy contract with the Oakland Athletics. The A’s weren’t messing around, and gave the 29-year old $22 million dollars for two years.

Tim Hudson

Despite being the oldest pitcher on this list, Hudson might be the best one. Thanks to the great work he put together in Atlanta these past few seasons, the 38-year old was given his payday with a 2-year, $23 million dollar deal with the San Francisco Giants.  Hudson is coming off that freak injury as well which one would think would be a concern.

Ricky Nolasco

I’ve never been all that big on the 30-year old Nolasco, and he’s been flying under the radar for quite some time leading up to his deal. The former Miami Marlin and LA Dodger righty is shipping off to Minnesota to pitch for the Twins after hitting the bank with his 4-year, $49 million dollar deal.

Phil Hughes

Hughes had an up-and-down career with the New York Yankees, and won’t have to deal with the New York faithful after his most recent deal with the Minnesota Twins. He’s the youngest of these pitchers at the age of 26, and is going to be making eight million dollars a season after signing for $24 million dollars over three years.

Josh Johnson

The Pirates were among the list of teams with serious interest in the flame-thrower Johnson, but unfortunately they missed out as he signed a one-year, $8 million dollar deal with the San Diego Padres.  The Bucs were reportedly the runner-up on the deal and Johnson’s wife being from the West Coast and the fact they have a home in Vegas certainly didn’t help the Pirates.

Dan Haren

After a few tough years, Haren, who was once looked at as one of the top right-handed pitchers in the league, fell out of that mix and was given another opportunity this offseason with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 33-year old signed a one-year, $10 million dollar deal.

AJBurnettJustWin

There are still some available starting pitchers on the market, and that list consists of guys like Hiroki Kuroda, Ervin Santana, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, Bartolo Colon, Paul Maholm, and the most important name of all, AJ Burnett.

At first, I was hesitant on giving a guy like Burnett over $12 million dollars a year, but when veteran pitchers are getting deals like the ones I just listed, it’d be worth it. Looking ahead to 2014, I’d probably take Burnett over the majority of the guys I listed in this article, which is why I think the Pirates need to pull the trigger and get something done with Burnett before it’s too late.

Signing Burnett for two years worth up to $30 million dollars isn’t an awful idea, especially when you see the money that pitchers like Kazmir, Nolasco, and others are pulling in. Burnett is better than those guys, and in this day and age in the MLB, you’re going to have to cough up a good chunk of change to lock up your big time players.

Hopefully the Pirates are following the deals that these veteran pitchers have been getting, and decide they want to extend an offer to Batman to bring him back to the Burgh for another season or two.

 

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  • Tj Streib

    Hughes just came off a season where he was 1-10 at home & got $8 mill? Give AJ what he wants. Mediocre pitchers like Edwin Jackson & Ryan Dumpster were getting $12 mill/year in free agency LAST YEAR, so this shouldn’t surprise anyone!

    Even “Moneyball” Billy Beane gave Kasmir $22 mill. AJ is well worth it & wasn’t out of MLB for the previous 3 years!.

    • Andrew Goemaat

      I agree that its a complete joke what some of these scrub pitchers are getting paid. Jackson got 4 yrs/52 M and probably that probably paved the way for mediocre starters to get these big pay days.

      AJ for 30 Mill over 2 years is more than worth it. The Pirates need to step up here, even if its 1 year at 15 million. It’s totally worth it either way. The guy still has plenty left in the tank and can definitely contribute again for us. Plus, I think the value he brings in mentoring the young pitchers goes overlooked. His influence was great on Locke in the first half and I’d love to see him here in 2014 to provide veteran leadership for guys like Cole (for a full year) and Taillon once he gets the call.

  • NorCalBuc

    The Pirates HAVE ALREADY made their offer to A.J. They’ve expressed their desire for him to return.

    It’s NOW up to A.J.

    • Tj Streib

      And that “offer” from the Pirates couldn’t have been much. They didn’t even tender him, with Huntington saying “we thought $14 million for one player was too much” – looks like we’re back to the non-spending Pirates. Seeing what these other scrub pitchers are getting, it’s looking like fair market value, especially in light that AJ made $16.5 mill last year between the Bucs & Yankees.

  • Guest

    And that “offer” from the Pirates couldn’t have been much. They didn’t even tender him, with Huntington saying “we thought $14 million for one player was too much” – looks like we’re back to the non-spending Pirates. Seeing what these other scrub pitchers are getting, it’s looking like fair market value, especially in light that AJ made $16.5 mill last year between the Bucs & Yankees