A.J. Burnett got paid by the Philadelphia Phillies. It’s over, done, finished. Burnett was on 93.7 The Fan for his farewell interview. I know what you’re thinking, enough A.J. Burnett. Yeh, I agree, but since we never expected his return to Pittsburgh, it wasn’t as difficult to listen to the gory details in Burnett’s unique perspective. As we mentioned over and over again, Burnett was never coming back. But how the Pirates ensured he wouldn’t return is still mystifying.
The team should have made the qualifying offer, securing a draft pick when Burnett signed elsewhere. In their heart of hearts, Neal Huntington and Frank Coonelly knew Burnett really wasn’t going to come back. Not after the way the season ended when the team couldn’t scrap together enough offense to finish the Cardinals.
It seems to me that everyone involved let their feelings get in the way. A healthy portion of ego-benedict was involved. Why the qualifying offer wasn’t made points solely at cash. The hometown ballclub should be holding a draft pick right now. It would vastly improve their position in the upcoming 2014 draft as well as continue to strengthen the farm system for the future. It’s a basic fundamental the team has lived by for years now.
But Pittsburgh now has closure on the A.J. Burnett offseason that wasn’t. The former Bucs ace joined Bob Pompeani on 93.7 The Fan this weekend. Burnett said “it was the toughest decision of his career, hands down.”
O.K. We’re calling bullshit on that and now mandate that someone have the rosin bag trick ready for when Burnett returns in July to PNC Park.
Regarding whether he would have accepted the Pirates qualifying offer, Burnett said, ‘Man I don’t know, fifty percent chance….where I was back in November…it would have been very hard to turn down. They handled things professionally, they brought Volquez in, they handled things well, …it didn’t meet up.”
It intrigues me to consider that with the Burnett draft pick compensation in their pocket, how much differently would the Pirates have approached signing one of the available free agents that requires draft pick compensation? Bottom line is that we will never know, it’s over. It was a big mistake that makes me wonder why I am saving thousands of dollars to pay for season tickets once again. We thought the Pirates were more savvy than this, but we were mistaken. But that’s a topic for another day.
The Burnett interview is pretty good. He spoke about teaching the mentality to Jeff Locke that he can win at this level. A.J. stated that Gerrit Cole is a freak of nature. It seems obvious that Burnett wasn’t too happy about the Bucs signing Volquez. The former Pirates ace stayed above the line and mentions that it’s time to move on.
The word association at the end of the interview is really good. Pompeani names Pirates players and Burnett responds with one word answers regarding the player.
Pompeani: Andrew McCutchen.
Pomp: Gerrit Cole
Pomp: Jeff Locke.
A.J.: Oh, he is gonna kill me for this….crafty.
Pomp: Pedro Alvarez
Pomp: Clint Hurdle
A.J. Good manager…and chews more gum than any human.
Go check out the interview for the rest including Burnett saying he considered himself a Yinzer, fans are entitled to believe what they want and sending his love to Pittsburgh.
Here is the complete interview