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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.