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Burnett saga is over. A big question remains: do the Pirates have enough pitching depth? (Updated 11 p.m.)

SOUTH HILLS – Pitchers and catchers hold their first workout in Bradenton, Fla. tomorrow and A.J. Burnett will not be among them. After 120 some days, the will-he-or-won’t-he soap opera is over and I don’t think the outcome is surprising. Burnett did as most free agents – what most humans do – and chose market value over a loyalty discount, agreeing to a one-year, $16 million deal with the Phillies Wednesday. The Phillies who were in need of an arm with Cole Hamels likely not ready for spring training.

As I’ve blogged about before, I thought extending a qualifying offer made sense and might have led to a much different outcome.  First, there’s a lot of new revenue entering the game. Second, the QO would have cut down on the market for Burnett and it would have given the Pirates a compensation-round selection had Burnett signed elsewhere. In fact the ideal outcome was perhaps securing a top 50 overall pick for a 37-year-old pitcher.

 

(UPDATE: I can confirm per source familiar with the negotiation that the Pirates offered Burnett a one-year, $12 million deal. Jon Heyman first reported).

 

Now maybe the Phillies would not have signed Burnett had he been attached to draft pick compensation but they are a win-now team. And even if they didn’t sign Burnett some team would have, right? Either that or the QO would have depressed his value enough Burnett would have eventually resigned with the Pirates. And there was little chance Burnett actually signed the QO.

 

But for whatever reason(s) – financial, performance projection, age risk and/or other – the Pirates didn’t extend the QO and didn’t offer. Give the Pirates this: they know more about Burnett than we know. Neal Huntington stated he didn’t want to put 18-20 percent of 2014 of payroll into a 37-year-old pitcher. Huntington doesn’t control total payroll but he has the ability to determine how to allocate it. And 37-year-old pitchers carry lots of risk. Had Huntington had a greater payroll to work with I suspect the QO might have been extended.

 

We can debate all this, and have, for four months.

 

We now know the Pirates move on without Burnett. We know now a critical question is this:  does this club has enough pitching depth? I suppose you could say every team enters the spring with the same looming calamity that is a rash of pitching injuries. Battling pitching attrition is one of the game’s biggest challenges.

 

One of the overlooked storylines is of 2013 is how the Pirates overcame significant pitching injuries. Eighty percent of the Pirates’ 2013 Opening Day rotation - 80 percent – was not in the starting rotation for the team in August. The only 2013 Opening Day starter who was pitching for the Pirates in August? Burnett.

 

Good teams typically have pitching depth or stay remarkably healthy. Look at St. Louis which lost starters Jamie Garcia, Chris Carpenter and closer Jason Motte last season and reloaded with Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal.

 

The Pirates overcame the injury losses of James McDonald and Wandy Rodriguez and the performance decline of Jeff Locke and the busted scratch-off lottery ticket that was Jonathan Sanchez because they had a reserve of high-upside pitchers. The Pirates overcame those injuries mostly from adding Francisco Liriano (who would have been in the rotation if not for the offseason injury), Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole after Opening Day.

 

The good news is the club is in line to get more innings out of Morton, Cole and Liriano in 2014  - close to 200 innings – if they stay healthy. That could make up for the Burnett productivity loss. The good news is the Pirates’ 2014 Opening Day rotation should be much stronger than its 2013 Opening Day rotation.

 

The bad news is this: there is not as much high-upside in reserve.

 

*Jameson Taillon is an arm who has impact potential come June but expectations should be limited even in an era where power arms seem to have little trouble making impacts from Day 1 of their arrivals. Remember Cole was pitching more like a mid-rotation arm June-August until he got his breaking ball on track in September.

 

*Cumpton, Locke and Gomez all look like back-of-the-rotation types. They’re valuable in a soaking-up-innings way but I don’t see a Liriano or Morton among them.

 

*Stolmy Pimentel is interesting. His fastball averaged 95.4 mph in relief last season. But his MiLB numbers hardly suggest future dominance.

 

*Nick Kingham is close but I’m not sure the club wants to force him into action in 2014. Tyler Glasnow is at least 200 minor league innings away.

 

In summary, the Pirates have high-upside arms beginning the year in the rotation in 2014 but have fewer such arms in reserve than they had a year ago. And every team will need more than five starting pitchers over the course of a season.

 

There are immediate concerns:

 

*Who knows how healthy Wandy Rodriguez is?

 

*Asking Edinson Volquez to have a Liriano-like turnaround is asking a lot. I think Volquez will pitch closer to his 2013 FIP (4.24) than his 2013 ERA (5.71) but he has serious command issues to resolve. Liriano pitched like an ace. A more realistic expectation is for Volquez to fit as a solid No. 4 or No. 5.

 

*Cole has 117 innings under his belt. Morton has never thrown more than 171 innings in a major league season. The only Pirates’ starting pitcher pitcher to average 200 innings over the last two season was Burnett.

 

The Pirates lose depth and innings with Burnett in addition to NL leading groundball and walk rates. They can fill the void with good health. But should injuries arise do they have the depth?

***

Programming note to begin things here today. Colleague Rob Biertempfel has embarked for Bradenton, Fla. this morning and I’ll be joining him in a few weeks there as we tag-team spring training. Pirates pitchers and catchers report today refreshing words in our arctic climate, right?

- TS

Comments

  1. Jeff King says:

    I think both sides in the AJ saga deserve blame. The Pirates, yes, perhaps they should have done the QO route. But I think AJ deserves more blame. When the Bucs made him an offer that was probably way below what he anticipated, he should have then decided to retire or seek employment elsewhere. He put the Pirates in a Catch-22 by dragging in on for four months. And while the Pirates said that his contract had no effect on future plans, how could it have not have? Even if it was $8-10M. Their way of approaching the off-season would have had to be different.
    $16M is an awful lot of money, but it points to the fact again of how messed us baseball’s owners are along with the inequality of revenue.
    The only question now is do the Pirates resume their search for a 1B differently now and/or they go to the scrap heap to look for some more starting pitching. Paul Maholm at $1.5M sure would look pretty good right now.

  2. Nate83 says:

    I agree there is no way it didn’t effect their off-season and in a perfect world he would have made up his mind back in November but I personal don’t have any issue with Burnett A) taking time to decide to retire or not and B) looking for more money if the Pirates never got above 8-10 million.

    Many, many people take a long time to decide when to retire and I think he has earned the right to take as long as he wants to pick a team. Once he becomes a free agent he owes nothing to the Pirates. Unlike most people athletes don’t get to pick what team they play for until free agency. The Pirates easily could have forced the issue and offered a contract extension in the middle of last year. I do believe he was sincere in his need/want to stay close to home. He ended up signing with a team that’s only 100 miles away from his house.

    I for one will look back at AJ’s time with the Pirates as a good thing. He brought fire, determination and a winning attitude to a team that didn’t know what that felt like and it was very needed at the time. This team has many leaders on it now. I’m not worried about the loss of leadership one bit. I am concerned with losing his performance which would have been the #2 or #3 starter on this team. Hopefully somebody steps up or the FO has some plan B’s in place.

  3. BostonsCommon says:

    PM only makes $1.5M if his arm falls off. If he pitches like the Dodgers expect him to, he makes $6.5M… Everything else equal, I don’t mind the gamble on Volquez’ upside.

  4. Mr Ed says:

    I agree; Had the QObbeen made, the Phillies don’t sign Burnett. They have little talent in their minor league system and you can bet Amaro wouldn’t squander it. However I think Brandon Cumpton can help pick up slot of slack and be a quality #4 starter. Would rather see him slotted ahead of Volquez. With Wandy iffy, Cumpton is going to get plenty of work. Perhaps the one signing tjat would have helped the most, despite many naysayers is letting Justin Morneau sign with the Rockies. Ok..so his offense was average and no home run pop, but it was also his first time seeing NL pitching full time. He is better than anyone we have. His defense was outstanding. Show me anyone else who makes that play at the mound to cut down Schierholz at the plate at Wrigley. So now we have Gaby and unproven Lambo. Hope it works; but am very uneasy there.

  5. Ghost says:

    With you, Nate. A.J. earned the right to take his time with his family and decide what he wanted to do. The Pirates still may have had a chance to make him an offer he would accept once he decided to put his cleats back on for one more year, but if they weren’t going to pay him $14 mil, then they weren’t going to pay him the $16 mil he got today.

    No ill feelings towards A.J. I’ve agreed with Travis all along that the Bucs should have made the QO — a one-year deal would not have hamstrung the franchise. But they didn’t do that and so A.J. signing today elsewhere is simply how this was going to play out.

  6. BostonsCommon says:

    “Cole has 117 innings under his belt.”

    Yes, but between if you add in his AAA and post season IP, Cole put up an impressive 196.1 innings last year. Really, he’s the least of my concerns right now.

  7. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t know if AJ would have signed here, but this Cole Hamels thing might have changed everything. And the Phillies President went on MLB radio the other day and said they were done.

  8. Jeff King says:

    Didn’t know that. Does he have to pitch so many innings?

  9. NMR says:

    -”And there was about zero chance Burnett actually signed the QO.”

    Strongly disagree. The number one reason players turn down qualifying offers is contract LENGTH. There is no reason what-so-ever for AJ Burnett to turn down a QO. He didn’t want more than one year, and he sure as heck wasn’t getting more than$14m with draft compensation attached.

    The Pirates did not want AJ Burnett back. Period.

    -I think you’re talking about two different things, Travis. Depth and impact.

    The Pirates have more than enough depth. What they don’t have as much of without Burnett is impact.

    You’re almost never going to find a team with multiple impact starters waiting in the wings as depth. Just doesn’t happen.

  10. Ghost says:

    Agree with you on Morneau. Above average defense, decent on-base-percentage, and even without the high altitude of Denver was probably going to hit some HR’s again this year. His power drought with us was too much of a small sample-size/deviation. I think the Rockies got him for 2 years for $5.5 mil(?). If so, it’s was a steal.

  11. NMR says:

    Exactly, Boston.

    Jeff, Paul actually has a point system written into his contract where he earns a given value depending on starts and relief appearances. One of the crazier things I’ve seen.

  12. NMR says:

    2 yrs, $12m. I believe.

    And is that defense a 2010 thing or a 2013 thing? He’s clearly lost a step.

  13. Nate83 says:

    It really would have been nice to either know AJ decision earlier or move on and forget he existed. Maybe they pursue different free agents or offer more to some. I’m on record of not being a Morneau fan but I’d be more comfortable with him then Lambo. It would have been an overpay in my opinion to give him what the Rockies did and I’m not sure the Pirates would have went two years on a player going in the wrong direction if they didn’t want to go 3 on Loney who seems a safe bet to maintain his current level of play.

  14. Ghost says:

    You might be right about the Phillies. But the Pirates would had to have had a change of heart in how much they were willing to pay A.J. if they were to bring him back. I know A.J. was always going to be selective about where he would play — if he even would play at all, this year. But since he announced he was, indeed, going to play, supposedly 15 teams contacted his camp. Unless NH was now extending more money, A.J. was going to end up somewhere that wasn’t Pittsburgh.

  15. Nate83 says:

    His power drought was from 2011 until July of 2013. His Augest was the small sample size not his time with the Pirates. I’m not sure why so many people thought this guy suddenly figured it out after being average for almost 3 years and below average for first baseman power numbers. Maybe DK pushing for him distorted peoples view. He had a hot streak. Jones would go on 2 or 3 of these a year. Morneau had one such streak in 3 years. Luckily we smartly didn’t give much up for him.

  16. JoeBucco says:

    Very disappointing on both sides for sure. Disappointed in the Pirates for not giving the QO to begin with, which seemed to make a lot of sense for many reasons. I don’t think the Pirates should have offered anywhere near $16m for him, but I hope they made a legitimate offer . I doubt that offer would have been 14, since that was the QO number. But if they offered $12m, then I could live with that. I doubt they did that though.

    Disappointing from A.J.’s perspective because this feels like a money grab from a guy who was beloved and supposedly loved being here. Hard to knock a guy for taking money, but when you make as much as you have in a career, happiness and comfort should count for something. Instead, he goes to a bad team, and playing in a bad park, for who knows what reason other than dollars. No way he pitches like a $16m pitcher this year, and I’d almost place money that his numbers may end up very similar to Volquez.

    Weird, but as much as we loved the guy pitching in black and gold, I’m guessing he gets some pretty relentless boos if he pitches here on the 4th of July weekend series. Decent chance those will be valid boos as well, unless the Pirates just didn’t offer him anything reasonable. Doubt any of us ever find that out.

  17. NMR says:

    Exactly!!!

    The small sample was August, not September.

  18. Nate83 says:

    Agree he is the only starter I’m not concerned with. NMR and Travis did a great job last year of pointing out exactly why Cole is about as good as bet as any pitcher in the league to have a long productive career. It’s as if he was born to pitch.

  19. BostonsCommon says:

    “Asking Edinson Volquez to have a Liriano-like turnaround is asking a lot. I think Volquez will pitch closer to his 2013 FIP (4.24) than his 2013 ERA (5.71) but he has serious command issues to resolve. Liriano pitched like an ace. A more realistic expectation is for Volquez to fit as a solid No. 4 or No. 5″

    I think everyone would sign up for Volquez pitching to a 4.24 ERA over 160-175ish IP. Like you said, that’s a solid No 4, and a fine value for $5M. He would slot in nicely behind Liriano, Cole, and Morton. Yes, Morton hasn’t gone over 171 IP… But is anyone asking him to? IMO, that would be a fine number for him to aim for, and anything over it is gravy.

    I think, barring injury, that is a front 4 that probably puts up 700+ above replacement level IP. From there, your looking for what, some combination of Wandy, Locke, Taillion, Cumpton, Jenmar, Irwin, and Kingham to give you 225-250 replacement level IP?

    They’re probably in better position than people think. And you would think their depth wouldn’t be tested as much as it was last year.

  20. Ghost says:

    Oh, okay — you’re right about Morneau’s new contract. $5.5 would have been too good to be true.
    As for his D, he probably has lost a step. But without delving into stats and ratings, I still think he’s considered at least better than average. I’m actually curious to see how Lambo is going to handle first base, though. Not holding my breath there, but I wouldn’t have ponied up $12 mil for Morneau either.

  21. Nate83 says:

    I agree with you on this NMR and almost posted something similar. He was different then almost any other player ever to get a QO. The Pirates would have been giving him close to market value and fulfilling his wish to stay close to home. I’m not sure he was ready to accept it but I’m sure there was a good chance of him taking it if he did know he was coming back.

    Which only leads me to think they just didn’t value him enough to think he was even worth 12 million so 14 million would have been more then just overpaying by a little in their eyes.

  22. Ghost says:

    I never expected him to repeat his August of last year. But nobody really expects his September of last year to be all he has either. I was mistaken about how much money it took for the Rockies to land him. So I retract my above comment about how we should have seen about re-signing him. But the guy is not a bum and he’s going to give the Rockies decent play at both 1st base and in the batters box.

  23. BostonsCommon says:

    “The Pirates have more than enough depth.”

    Yes, agreed. I hit on that below. FWIW, I think the impact is going to be there too. Assuming the ridiculous injuries from 2013 do not reoccur.

  24. NMR says:

    FWIW, I think Morneau and Gaby would’ve been a fine combo. Morneau wasn’t MORNEAU, but he was still a professional.

  25. NMR says:

    +1

    And that is before taking into account the fact that they’ll have about $15m to play with at the trade deadline. No expense better be spared if they need an arm or bat…or three.

  26. Nate83 says:

    I would be happy if Volquez gave us 4.00-4.50 as a #5 starter. That would be very good value for 5 million. The problem will be if he becomes our #4 for any long stretch of the season because of injuries. Any other year that would be adequate for the Pirates but unless they score more runs this year they need more out of a 4th starter.

    On a side note I think it’s misleading when the 20th in the league in runs scored is used. AL teams in general score more runs so you would assume that most AL teams scored more runs and that a handful of them did not actually have better offenses then the Pirates. This also doesn’t factor in the Park the team plays in. I don’t think the Pirates offense was as bad as perceived last year but I also don’t think it was good enough to be a playoff team without an elite top 2 or 3 pitching staff in the NL to make up for the average (not below average) offense.

    Not signing AJ means they need contributions elsewhere. The easiest solution is a healthy pitching staff and an effort from Taillon that is similar to Coles last year when/if he joins the staff. The Reds have had very healthy pitching staffs for most of 2011 and 2012 so it is possible but it doesn’t happen very often. I think it is more likely they find contributions with trades during the season. Knowing what they have in Taillon and Polanco may make them open to trading Glasnow, Kingham or Bell who are all have much more value to other teams then what we gave up last year to get Byrd and Morneau. Who knows maybe they get AJ back when the Phillies are out of it in August. Wouldn’t that be crazy?

  27. BostonsCommon says:

    “No expense better be spared if they need an arm or bat…or three.”

    Completely agree. I’m sure NH already has a list of players entering the final year of their contract, with 1B, and RF highlighted.

  28. Ghost says:

    Me three if they find a good fit. I think(hope) the pickings will be better by going this route.

  29. Ghost says:

    “Who knows maybe they get AJ back when the Phillies are out of it in August. ”

    Same thought crossed my mind. Maybe then we even get the Phillies to eat most of the money still owed. Wouldn’t that be vintage Neal Huntington?!

  30. Nate83 says:

    First Base free agents next year is also a weak group. I think it’s more likely they trade a better prospect and get a player further away from free agency if first base is a need.

  31. Dave says:

    I just never got it that AJ’s 10-11 record last year contributed to the Bucs fine 2013 season.

  32. Ghost says:

    Perhaps you didn’t any of those games where he got pathetic run support.

  33. Stuart says:

    Looks to me like the Bucs are looking to 2015. A lot of the young pitching prospects should be ready, or nearly ready.

    Someone suggested that AJ should have just told us that he wasn’t going to sign with the Bucs, but that would have been foolish as it would have weakened his bargaining power with other teams. I imagine he told the Phil’s that he had an offer w/the Bucs that the Phil’s would have to substantially beat for him to sign with them.

    Looks like too many “ifs” on our current team for this year. Go Lambo!

    Stuart

  34. Andrew says:

    I understand the concerns about the rotation and depth but this is not a worry unique to the Pirates. Teams cannot just stockpile back end starters in AAA or the bullpen. The Pirates have more options then spots available. Are there individual concerns, yes, Morton has been far from a workhorse, Liriano has had past issues and throws a lot of sliders, but overall pitchers are not a durable group.

    I maintain that the Wandy will pitch. How well? Who knows. His injury and the concerns about arthritis are based on one comment from Wandy. The Pirates maintained that it was a forearm muscle strain, and appear to be treating it as such. Jason Grilli had a similar injury, spent two months on DL, and his velocity never returned until the playoffs, and that was with throwing 15-20 pitches an outing. Surgery was deemed unnecessary so Wandy’s UCL is competent, I do think he will pull a Matt Morris.

    Would have loved to Burnett back, clearly AJ and his agent do not read Fangraphs.

    “Burnett doesn’t allow a lot of fly balls or line drives, but the ones he does allow are hit harder than the league average. His relative fly ball run value allowed spikes up from 90 to 109 once you take the Pirates’ ballpark and outfield defense out of the equation. Ditto his line drive run value, up from 99 to 107… Pittsburgh is an absolutely spectacular fit for him – solid team defense, big park, competitive club. “

  35. cmat0829 says:

    Glad the “AJ saga” is over. Bottom line is the Pirates did not value AJ near where he eventually signed at… and, yawn, a major league baseball player once again chooses money over any other factor. No doubt in my mind that the best place for AJ to pitch in 2014 was in Pittsburgh. His performance in Philly will not be what it was in Pittsburgh, but c’est la vie.

    The key question of this front office remains “Why haven’t you invested the available payroll in ways to make the 2014 more competitive”. It is the lack of a good answer to that question that is my concern, AJ stay or AJ go was always a distraction to the real issue at hand. NH was disingenious (lying if you prefer) when he said that signing or not signing AJ had no impact on making other moves… clearly it did and does. Whether that means the Bucs make a move now or in July, the $$ has to be put to use to make the 2014 team better.

  36. Jeff King says:

    I think one guy we may be overlooking in this saga is Searage. He has a lot of input in what goes on. He may believe that Burnett’s arm simply is not worth $16M. To tell you the truth, I have more trust in what he says more than just about anyone else on the team.
    Or, maybe we’ll see a couple of surprising moves in the next 30 days. Maybe they were just waiting for AJ to finally make a decision.

  37. NMR says:

    Are you sure about that? Who would the Pirates have signed?

  38. NMR says:

    It actually disappointed me that AJ was too afraid to go back to the AL. I think that shows a lot of his persona was an act.

  39. NMR says:

    I’ll add Hurdle to that. It would shock me if Clint sat idle while Huntington pulled this trick alone.

  40. chethejet1 says:

    If Wandy can come back and pitch above average, then AJ will not be missed. But if Wandy can’t, the depending on Locke may be a reach. But the opening staff rotation and adding Tallion will be very good all things considered.

  41. Steelkings says:

    OMG! Seriously, Is being a fan of the Pirates a cult thing? Where is the cool aid line?

    He is the PM incentive clause:
    Los Angeles Dodgers SP Paul Maholm can make up to $5 million this year through incentives. In order to do so, he must gain a total of 60 points, with two points for a game started, 1 1/2 points for an outing of two or more innings and one point for an outing fewer than two innings. –

    This means:
    A. Start 30 games.
    B. Come out of the bull Pen for long relief in 45 games.
    c. Come out of the Bull Pen for short relief in 60 games.
    d. Any combo of the above to get to 60 points.

    In other words If he meets his incentives it is one hell of a bargain for any MLB team. But perhaps not for the tight wad arse Pirates. Go ahead, Tell me Im wrong and treat the BMTIB like their your ole family dog and pet them on the head and tell them its ok for chewing up you best shoes. We will wear and loves those old shoes just the same.

  42. piratemike says:

    Ghost, I am not a SM guy but when I see people bring up AJ’s record after watching every game he pitched last season I understand when they say W-L records are immaterial because AJ may have had at least a 16 win season if not for no run support.

  43. The Gunner says:

    Nate

    I like your thinking about AJ coming back when the Phillies have their fire sale in July. I’d welcome AJ back with open arms if and when that occurs.

  44. Steelkings says:

    Not the point NMR. You cant use that. The BMTIB used AJ as an excuse.

    “”"”"”"”"”"“It’s always easy to look in hindsight. If he’d accepted the offer, it would have had a significant impact on what we could have done. … It would have affected our approach on the first-base market, the right-field market and bullpen market. If we had a crystal ball and seen this is the way it would play out, maybe things are different.”
    Huntington said he was not surprised Burnett tested the market. “We never assumed it was Pittsburgh or nothing,” Huntington said”"”"”"”"”"”

    First off, They havent tried to do anything about RF. Name one guy. One….I didnt think so.
    2ndly, There were several qualified first basemen that they could have had. Morrison, Loney, Morneau, Ect..But they didn’t. and now isn’t it a convenient excuse to act like you were saving money for AJ. 18-20% percent of the payroll. You cant have this both ways.

    Lets see.

    “”"”“We never assumed it was Pittsburgh or nothing,””"”

    So if that be the case then why did it effect the free agent market? You were saving money for AJ? How did you not know all along that AJ’s market value was close to 20 million? How did you not know this was going to happen?
    Does NH not understand Saber Metrics?

    Explain to me anyone how 2014 is not simply about cashing in on 2013!

  45. Steelkings says:

    The team did not get better…..by losing AJ. Starting pitching is everything.

  46. Foo says:

    AJ had back to back ERAs over 5 before joining the Bucs.

    Who here thought he’d do what he did after he joined us?

    Now, I am not a fan of Volquez, but for some reason Searage, the shifts and/ or the park have a positive affect on (most) pitchers.

    I am really not that worried about our depth. For all we know, most of our guys will stay healthy. And pitch well.

    Did you know, that if Lance Lynn would’ve been on our team, his ERA would’ve been 7th! By almost a half a run!!

    I think we’ll be okay.

    And, I hope AJ’s ERA approaches SIX for the Phils (not that I’m bitter or anything).

  47. Donald says:

    Yeah, he seems like a huge sell out. When you take 4 months before making a decision to retire or not…. that’s making a decision between zero dollars and several million dollars. if he really loved Pittsburgh and the Pirates so much, he would have taken the reported $8Million. It’s definitely better than $0 if he had retired. Seems like it was all about where he could make the most money… and he’s already made $120Million in his career. Was that not enough???

  48. bpn8pitt says:

    Question. The Phillies #1 was protected right? So it would have been a#2? Top 50?

    Sorry if I missed the explanation.

  49. Donald says:

    A trade for Doug Fister would have been huge. It was reported the Pirates were interested.

  50. JoeBucco says:

    I’m guessing, though I’ve love to really know for sure, that the Pirates may have offered more than $8m. I’d guess they would have gone $10m if that would have gotten it done, and I’d be surprised if $12m wasn’t a number this whole thing landed on. $16m for one year in a new city that isn’t going to win? That’s just grabbing every last nickel from a career. Hard to knock it, to each his own. But don’t say it’s Pittsburgh or bust and then go to the highest bidder.

  51. JoeBucco says:

    Agreed. He’ have been hit around in the AL like every team was the Cards. And we know how he fared against them last year.

  52. JoeBucco says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Russ extended past this year with some of that money. He may have been the MVP last year in the way he handled the pitching staff and his clubhouse leadership.

    And his HR on the very next pitch after Cueto dropped the ball in the WC game was the best moment this franchise has had in 30+ years. To me, I’d love to give Russ that money to keep him around.

  53. bpn8pitt says:

    My other comment, may not be popular. But 30 million for Burnett, Morneau and Byrd in 2014 alone seems a little excessive. I’m mad they couldn’t have done other things, and I understand the price of doing business. But if they get Marte or Walker signed to some team friendly deal in the spring, I would take that.

  54. JoeBucco says:

    I’ll let last year give them the benefit of the doubt. Besides, I think they learned that being good will result in plenty of cash to go around. Don’t forget, the Buccos were the sexiest team in baseball last year, attendance was way up and merchandise was flying off the shelves. Regardless of the TV money, I think these guys know that simply being good will generate revenue. I think there is still a key member to the 2014 team who is not yet a part of the 2014 team. I’ll give it a few weeks, but I’m guessing something will indeed happen.

  55. JoeBucco says:

    I’m with you Foo.

  56. piratemike says:

    Yeah Lee, I’[m not upset over

  57. JoeBucco says:

    Here’s a thought for next year’s trade deadline…

    Pirates locked in a battle with STL for the Central, and the Phillies are 20 games back of Atlanta and Washington, the Buccos make a deal to acquire AJ and Marlon Byrd for the stretch run. We get him back for the stretch, and the BMTIB is on the hook for only about $6m of that new contract.

    :)

  58. bpn8pitt says:

    I heard he’s 70 miles from his own house; bed. Wife, kids.

    I understand that completely.

  59. Steelkings says:

    No way. You are looking at the 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates roster as it is now.
    The revenues went up, yet the quality is the same, Fans in all my blogs are over board with optimism. I dont get it. Higher ticket prices. Rev’s from the playoff tickets, Raising Concessions and Parking. A new TV deal. Dont forget the MLB welfare check. Yet the payroll remains the same as the talent remains questionable. As a fan I wanted a player. Reward me with a player! NO? Then how about the return of one of our own? And they gave me nothing.

    This team is fragile at best. Perhaps all this Pirate optimism will fade when this team is 40 – 54 entering June. The questions then will be, who is for sale at the trade deadline. My guess will be Pedro. Its the Pirate way.

    Sorry but 20 years of losing does that to a guy

  60. Steelkings says:

    Wont happen because AJ’s contract has an option for a 2nd year.

  61. Danny Murtaugh says:

    AJ’s run support (3.73) was about the same as most Pirate starters — Locke (3.50), Wandy (3.75), Cumpton (3.80), Morton (3.75). After the initial rotation shake out, only Liriano (4.38), Cole (4.32), and Gomez (4.00) had significantly more run support. All of these pitchers won at least three more games than they lost or at least 60% of their decisions. Only Burnett, despite his gaudy stats, managed to lose more than he won. He was also crushed twice by the Cards at the end of the season and in the playoffs. AJ did not hold up well to the pressure in NY, and despite the benefits of playing in Pittsburgh, he came up short much too often for a top of the rotation starter. Add in his 37 years, missing a month due to injury, it seems clear that NH made the right call in declining to make a QO. It is in no way obvious that the Phillies or anyone else would have offered AJ more than $14 million if they had to sacrifice a draft pick. That would have left the Pirates devoting almost 20% of their payroll to a 37 year old, recently injured pitcher with a losing record who played poorly in key games against their no. 1 rival.

    Finally, do the Pirates have the depth to replace this guy? None of Locke (3.52 era), Gomez (3.35 era) and Cumpton (2.05 era) are today slated to make the starting rotation. They were 15-8 last year, and each will 25 or 26 years old during the 2014 season. Not to mention that Tallion may be up in June.

    Should the Pirates mourn the loss of AJ? No way.

  62. Nate83 says:

    Nice post. They are a better team with AJ but not having him isn’t exactly devastating. They still have time to spend money to improve this team. Trades can be made during the year as well. Even signing him to 12 million wouldn’t have come without some risk. 37 year old pitchers are not exactly reliable. He was good but hardly not replaceable by spending that 12 million elsewhere.

  63. Andrew says:

    John Heymen reports the Pirates offered 1 year $12 million to Burnett.

  64. NorthPirateFan says:

    Still less concerned about pitching the pitching than about the offensive problems which have yet to be addressed adequately.

  65. Steelkings says:

    Spend money on who would you suggest?

  66. Mr Ed says:

    Have to disagree with the thought process regarding Morneau. The Bucs have no one in the system who is a qualified First basenan. Let’s see…Since Kevin Young departed, we have had the likes of Brad Eldred ( over hyped) and a couple others who accomished zero. Giving Morneau the same type money that the Rocks did would have been fine for two years until we either find a potential fit in the draft or make a position change for one of our budding outfielders, such as Bell or Meadows. Hey, Neil Walker went from catcher to third to finally second base; so switching on of them now I don’t think hurts them at all. Plus~ then we don’t have to worry about the outfield glut and have a new potential Young Lumber Company for many years. I magine a starting nine with Marte,McCutchen,Polanco, Pedro, Walker, Bell or Meadows. That screams powerhouse. I like that thought. And AJ won’t help the Phils get over the hump. They aren’t going to Challenge the Nats or Braves. We’ll take that extra $15 Mil and get what we need at the right time.

  67. Steelkings says:

    When we stop talking about risk, and start talking about failure to compete…….

  68. Mr Ed says:

    Continuing the position change topic..many teams take young promising players and make position changes. Two recent examples ~ Pablo Sandoval was a catcher in the Giants minor league system, before relicating to third and Sean Doolittle was a first baseman in the A’s system before being converted to a darn good reliever. So a switch for either Bell or Meadows should not be considered out of the question. Plus we’ll see what pans out with Stetson Allie.

  69. Bizrow says:

    +++++++++++++

  70. Bizrow says:

    IMO Stetson is years away, plus I think he has to be protected on the 40 man if he shows potential

  71. mab71 says:

    If anything this whole AJ situation has brought into focus the realities of the Pirates and what/who they can afford. We seem to forget that the only reason the Pirates were in the position to lose out on AJ is because NH pulled off what turned out to be an awesome trade. A seriously legit veteran pitcher for half the price. With the Yankees paying half of AJ’s salary the Pirates had two great season with a leader in the clubhouse, mentor to young pitchers and a competitor on the mound every 5 days. We should all be thrilled that this happened. AJ is one of the reasons the Pirates made the playoffs and have seemingly turned the corner on being big losers. The Pirates can’t afford pitchers like AJ, but we sure got some good stuff out of him.

  72. Leo Walter says:

    Justin Moreau had lost so much bat speed that it wasn’t even fun to watch. $ 6 mil per year for a slap hitter ? No thanks

  73. Leo Walter says:

    Trade Glasnow ? Are you serious ? They aren’t about to trade Kingham let alone Glasnow.

  74. JoeBucco says:

    I doubt he’s living at home and making that commute into the office each day. So I call B.S. on that one as well. It was greed, plain and simple, to get every last nickel out of one last (?) year of a career. Like I said, to each his own, but this wasn’t about family. Besides, his family lived with him in Pittsburgh last year, so yea, B.S.

  75. JoeBucco says:

    Thanks, I didn’t even bother to look at the details.

  76. JoeBucco says:

    Definitely changes my opinion of things now that we know the Pirates offered A.J. $12 million. I respect that offer, and though maybe it should have come sooner, I think that was the right number to offer him. If A.J. were going to sell himself to the highest bidder, I think we all knew from day one that wasn’t going to bode well for the Pirates.

    Sucks that a lot of fans took A.J. at his word that he wanted to be in Pittsburgh, which seems to be worth about $16 million less than the contract he signed.

  77. Andrew says:

    This just loss aversion. The Pirates already have several back end of the rotation options, Maholm adds little value to the team. He has little value out of the bullpen because he has massive platoon splits, RHH have a .800 OPS against, K/9 5.12, BB/9 3.09. I agree he cost very little and I find it odd no team gave him a better deal but what does he bring to Pirates?

  78. Leo Walter says:

    The question might be for you Steelking. Who would you have had them throw money at for RF ? Logan Morrison ??? Seriously ? First base ? Justin Morneau ? His bat speed is down so far he is going to LF most of the time. They made a very credible 2 year offer for Loney,for more than many people think he is worth as a platoon 1st baseman. Spending money sounds really good when you have nothing in it and aren’t going to be held accountable for the end results…or lack thereof.

  79. JoeBucco says:

    “He informed us it was family-based,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said of Burnett’s decision. “The player made a decision to be closer to home. I was told he really loved his time here. It was a really hard decision for him.”

    Sounds to me that if Buccos had offered $16 mil and Phils only offered $12 mil, we were still going to lose since the decision was strictly to be closer to home.

    Sure.

  80. Rc21 says:

    Why is that excessive when each team gets handed a 25-30 million dollar MLB TV revenue check for each of the next 10 years?

  81. RC 21 says:

    Totally agree, complete greed! What’s concerning is how many fans are clueless.

  82. RC 21 says:

    Why is that excessive, what is excessive is Nutting keeping the 25-30 mil he and all MLB teams get from the new TV revenue package!

  83. RC 21 says:

    Don’t drink his Kool Aid

  84. NMR says:

    That reported $12m offer is a game changer for me. Really, really surprised – and disappointed – that AJ left over $4m.

    Before we immediately pile on about not offering the QO from the start, think about the timeline of events.

  85. NMR says:

    Great post.

  86. NMR says:

    I agree in a vaccuum, Mr. Ed. But think about the timeline of events. I garuntee people would be livid if the team had signed Morneau for that money only to learn it kept them from signing Burnett.

  87. NMR says:

    Been a while, buddy. How ya been?

  88. NMR says:

    Steelkings, come on man.

    I’m going to ask you kindly, as a guy who values what you write here, please don’t bring the kool-aid-BMTIB-apologist garbage here.

    Travis’ blog is a sanctuary of adult baseball talk free of all that garbage that permeates other Pirate boards. Let’s keep this place civil.

  89. NMR says:

    I believe you are correct.

  90. Steelkings says:

    That’s very hard. As a senior member of the writing staff of this paper very plainly pointed out, distrust of the organization was brought on by themselves. They continue to speak out of both sides of their mouths. And it never stops. Every time they comment they contradict something else.

    The whole premise of being a small market team is an insult to the great city of Pittsburgh. I do not have a mediocre personality. Fans compete, Players compete, coaches compete and I think HN competes. ( Hes done extraordinary well with what he has to work with). Owners specifically have to compete. If they are in it to simply break even, they are in the wrong business.

    For you though , NMR, I’ll go back over here and simply lurk.

  91. Steelkings says:

    You guys may have me wrong . Let me clarify. I think 16 million is way too much to pay for AJ Burnett. !2 million was the right offer and C’est la vie.

    It just makes me a little crazy when the brass comes out and says that a QO would have affected the way they approached the 1st base market, the right field market and the back of the bull pen market. Hindsight would have made a difference.

    Help me here fella’s. What does that mean? Does it mean that they in hindsight would have given AJ the QO and he would still be a Pirate, and that would be better than nothing because they are UNable to fix those other things within their means?

    Or does it mean that they let AJ dictate what they did this off season waiting for him to decide? Withholding money?

  92. NMR says:

    No no, I don’t mean for you to reign back any comments at all about the team. Fire away.

    I’d just humbly ask you to stay away from the personal insults (some people take offense to the cult/kool aid talk) to other posters here, especially unprovoked.

  93. Steelkings says:

    Which make AJ a coward. The Orioles were all in. They are 20 minutes from his house. Apparently the AL is a little scary.

  94. NMR says:

    I interpret this as saying Huntington had a plan going into the winter of acquiring multiple peices. SP, 1B, SS, C, etc…

    Given his budget, he was not able to GUARANTEE Burnett $14m and still fill the other holes. He took a risk in trying to get Burnett for below that amount (or an alternative like Josh Johnson) plus other players instead of going “all-in” so to speak on Burnett alone.

    Now once they lost out of Johnson and Loney, it became clear that money would be left in the planned budget. At that point the offer likely increased to $12m.

  95. Steelkings says:

    Spot on except for the last sentence. Unless you mean next off season.

  96. Steelkings says:

    Great point Bizrow. Next season the Pirates will have several prospects come available for rule 5 unless they are protected on the 40 man. 6 free agents on the current 40 man will be staring at their last season as pirates, unless they are still available after the winter meetings. Not that this is a huge deal but, Barmes Grilli, Martin, Liriano, Wandy and Volquez are outty after 2014. They simply wont have the roster space.

  97. Steelkings says:

    Perhaps the real deals is that the Pirates didnt really want him. Specifically pointing to that time line you mention. Numerous problems occur by resigning him. The Brass may have made up its mind a long time ago.

    1. There’s the money……….
    2. There’s the log jam of RH pitching trying to bust out of Indy
    3. There is the biggest point of AJ’s contract with Philly and that’s the option of a second year. Pirates will begin to do what all top farm system teams do and thats navigate rule 5 hell. Aj could hurt that immensely by opting to pitch in 2015.

  98. Nate83 says:

    All GM’s lie. The Phillies GM said they where out of the running for AJ and then signed him a short 3 days later. I imagine most of us do not know as much about the other teams as we do about the Pirates. I’m sure just as many mixed messages are sent by other team GM’s. What exactly about AJ situation felt like talking out of both sides of their mouth.

    From the beginning NH said it was unlikely they would be able to offer AJ his market value and if that is what he wanted he would probably sign elsewhere. That seems pretty honest. AJ signed close to his market value somewhere else. He also was very open about not going to 18-20% on any one player on the team. I’m sure being 37 years old probably meant they were not going anywhere near that number with AJ.

    I understand frustration that the QO wasn’t made but if they didn’t value him much more then 10 million there is a danger in offering 14.1. Not many owners or GM’s just blindly add 4 million more to their payroll. Especially a payroll that is 90 million. The Pirates are big on getting value on the dollar and they should be. Free agency is the worse way to achieve that. Very few players outplay their contracts. Nothing that has happened in the last 24 hours should be a surprise.

  99. NMR says:

    When it was being reported that the team was not budging from it’s $8m offer, I thought that was a sure sign they just plain didn’t want him. Now that that report looks to be false, I believe they wanted Burnett, but not as the top priority.

    I still think Josh Johnson was their top target, way back at the beginning. At the time, many thought Pittsburgh was a perfect fit and the Pirates even reportedly had the best offer before he decided to pitch on the west coast.

    Josh Johnson at $10m is a better deal than AJ at $14+, IMO.

  100. Foo says:

    Travis…why do you say there is little chance he would’ve signed the QO? AJ was only thinking about one more year (2 at most) so that would’ve been perfect for him.

  101. Steelkings says:

    Fans also thought that AJ had made enough money over his career and would give the Pirates a discount. Nobody has ever made ENOUGH money. Money is life’s great measuring stick.

    I mean, Tanaka for example chartered a dreamliner that seats 200 passengers to fly to the US. He paid 225,000 dollars to fly him and 4 other family members. He’s chartering the same plane to take his parents back after spring training.

  102. Steelkings says:

    +1

  103. RobertoForever says:

    nate83,

    Great summation of the situation. And I still bring up the chance that AJ asked them not to do a QO so he could discover his real value. If the FO thought he would be pissed and just retire if the QO, then maybe they chose the possibly resigning him path, over the pissed off retired and Bucs get no chance path.

    Also the reporting now puts to bed the BS reporting that the FO offered him 8.5 mil. I didn’t believe that for a second.

  104. Nate83 says:

    Yep, I’m serious. I’m not predicting it but it’s not unheard of to trade prospects to get something of need. Especially if it’s an area that you have a surplus. If Cole and Taillon both show themselves to be anchors of the staff for years to come and the Pirates have a good amount of pitchers behind Glasnow and Kingham that are very good prospects I could see them trading one of them for a nice return.

    I’m not talking about trading for a rental like Byrd. I’m talking about trading for a first baseman or shortstop that is proven and maybe has 3 or 4 years of team control left. Why would that seem so crazy?

  105. RobertoForever says:

    My inside sources say that Justin would not have signed here for two years twelve million. That deal was a discount because he wanted to play with Cuddyer again (and the altitude intrigued him)

    So if I put two and two together Justin probably communicated thru his agent to the Pirates to not bother offering anything.

    There has to be two sides with mutual imatching interest to get a deal done (this probably applies toMaholm as well)

  106. Steelkings says:

    OMG! Seriously, Is being a fan of the Pirates a cult thing? Where is the cool aid line?

    Let me break that down for you

    OMG! = first time I read that AJ was a Philly.

    ? NO#1 and 2 = Why am “I” still a fan? Have “I” been brain washed? Take “ME” out of my misery.

    The rest was my defense of my desire to acquire a very affordable PM. And my frustrations with the Pirates. But it certainly wasnt a shot at any one poster or posters in Particular.

  107. Nate83 says:

    It also came out the Tigers GM knew exactly what he wanted and actually pursued the trade he made with the Nationals. It’s odd but it sounds like he had his mind pretty set that those were the “prospects” he wanted. I’m amazed with a pitcher of Fister’s talent he didn’t make it an open bidding war.

  108. Steelkings says:

    @ Nate

    Totally disagree. Most GM’s do need to lie.
    First off, Cole Hamels injury changed everything. Its not the 12 million or the 16 million. Its the option of the 2nd year. No one in their right mind would want to do that. Philly suddenly found themselves in a pitching Bind. Hamels says he wont be ready and Burnett signs the next day. Im positive its what it took to push Burnett over the edge.

    As for the BMTIB, I posted the quote. I wont debate the whole thing, but I will say; ” Bull pen market?”

  109. Nate83 says:

    NMR I think you are correct. The offer they made Johnson is probably what they had been willing to spend on a starting pitcher. AJ may have gotten the same exact offer. The problem and frustration for most is that they haven’t gotten a first baseman or a quality starting pitching option unless you are sold on a Volquez turnaround. I can’t imagine they went into the offseason thinking those two areas of need could be taken care of with 5 million which is what they have spent.

    It would seem as if they have some earmarked money that hasn’t been spent. I’m willing to wait because I know a lot can happen before the first game and during the season. There wasn’t many options that fit well with their needs but that is when you need to get creative. That probably becomes easier when other teams start to have their teams round into shape and players become available.

  110. Steelkings says:

    Most GM’s DONT need to lie

  111. Nate83 says:

    Thanks for the info Andrew. I feel as if that is a fair offer. I’m a little surprised AJ didn’t take that. I wouldn’t think he would find it insulting and although a lot 4 million for a guy who has made 120 in his career wouldn’t seem worth going to a different team that would seem to have a lesser chance to compete.

  112. Steelkings says:

    “”"”"That probably becomes easier when other teams start to have their teams round into shape and players become available.”"”"

    The current players and the fans deserve better than someone elses dead weight.

  113. NMR says:

    Prospect Separation Syndrome is tough to kick, Nate. Your idea isn’t crazy at all.

  114. NMR says:

    @Steelkings – AJ Burnett was once someone’s dead weight.

  115. NMR says:

    Chris Davis was once Texas’ dead weight.

  116. NMR says:

    Turns out you’re absolutely correct.

    I feel like this makes AJ look disingenuous, at best. I can’t possibly imagine he was naive or ignorant enough to think the Pirates would be able to make the best offer when he made the Pirates-or-retirment statement.

  117. Steelkings says:

    Solid article on what the writer says is a bad deal for everyone involved

    http://www.mlbdailydish.com/2014/2/12/5406262/aj-burnett-phillies-pirates-mlb-free-agent

  118. Nate83 says:

    No, I am crazy. Just not in this case.

  119. Steelkings says:

    NMR- Those guys were traded and would you like me to make a list of all the players who were acquired like that who didnt work out, or were marginal players at best? That goes both ways my friend, and when you are trying to build on a contender, thats a plan that’s less than desirable.

  120. Steelkings says:

    He has a no trade clause built into the contract

  121. Nate83 says:

    Steelking there are so many scenarios that can happen that wouldn’t require it to be dead weight. A team could have a very good first baseman that is in his first year of arbitration but they also have a stud first base prospect waiting with no place to play. If the prospect plays great in pre-season and shows he is ready to play why wouldn’t that team trade the current first baseman and get prospects in return while saving some money.

    Especially at the trade deadline you are not getting deadweight.

  122. Steelkings says:

    Love it! Not only does it allow you to plug a hole but helps in the rule 5 arena

  123. Leo Walter says:

    NMR : I am glad I am not the only one who is sick and tired of those worn out clichés he is using there. They have to be coming from a poster who used them in another Pittsburgh media blog site 2 or 3 years ago.

  124. Leo Walter says:

    Don’t hold your breath on them trading Glasgow.

  125. Nate83 says:

    Steelkings you seem to be a half empty type guy when it comes to the Pirates. That’s fair they lost for 20 years straight and did a lot of things wrong during that time. Almost all players that turn out good for the Pirates that are acquired are “deadweight” when we get them. That is why they are available to a team like the Pirates. You are rooting for the wrong team if you expect them to get proven free agents that cost 15-20 million a year.

    However they would be in the running for a player like Chase Headley. A proven well above average player that still has a couple years of team control left. Adam Lind could be a target. He fits that profile. I’m not saying he’s great but I don’t think anybody would call him deadweight.

  126. Steelkings says:

    Nate
    The problem is with the position itself. Anymore 1st basemen are also rf’s. The Mariners for example have 3 first basemen. If you look at their depth chart they list one in right, one in left and one at 1st.
    And I think that right there is why the Pirates cant find a suitable fit. Their are a ton of teams that will have two 1st basemen on the field at the same time

  127. Nate83 says:

    Leo those two guys are interesting. Glasnow has the higher ceiling but just as easily could end up being a reliever. Kingham seems to be more of a sure bet to be a middle of the rotation starter. We will probably never know but it would be interesting to see which the Pirates value more.

    Don’t get me wrong I think the odds are the Pirates have both guys in the majors for at least their first 4 or 5 years but I can see a situation where one of them is traded at the deadline especially if the next group of 4 or 5 pitchers behind them (3 of which are left handed) show improvement.

  128. NMR says:

    @Steelkings

    Those were trades, but you still had to pay them. Money is money.

    And while that isn’t the most desirable plan, it is the only option the Pirates have. They simply can’t afford players AFTER they breakout or bounce back.

  129. Steelkings says:

    “”"”"”"”"”"”"”"You are rooting for the wrong team if you expect them to get proven free agents that cost 15-20 million a year.”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"

    I’ll try my best not to be insulted. (NMR, Where are you?)

    First off, dont talk down to me.
    Im of the opinion that the dead weight crap is why they had 20 losing seasons. My cup can be as full as it wants to be. Because I’ve been a fan longer than Nuttings been an owner. Predates McClatchy. I was a fan way back when there was a lot of Pride in Pittsburgh Pirate baseball. I watched Bob Clemente Play. Chicken on the hill willy. I emulated Richy Hebner pulling up on the back of his jersey before he stepped in the batters box. So dont tell me how full my cup should be.

    If Nutting cant afford to pay 20 million for a player,…if players develop and continue to leave for greener pastures….If payroll goes down when revenues go up and you still dont spend on a contender, then Im allowed to dump out half my cup.

  130. Nate83 says:

    Thanks for the link. It’s a better read then most sport nation columns. I think they did a nice job of laying out what each team/person did not gain by AJ’s decision.

    In the end if the Pirates offered 12 million and AJ thought 4 million was worth leaving I can’t fault anyone involved. I’m sure the 12 million is more then the Pirates had wanted to spend on him especially after putting 5 million down for Volquez. Going higher didn’t make any sense for this team.

  131. Nate83 says:

    Steelking I apologize if I offended you in anyway. If you read my post I wasn’t trying to tell you how to feel. I was simply stating my opposite view. I acknowledged it was fair for you to be more negative then myself with 20 years of losing. I didn’t say or intend to imply that it wasn’t your right.

  132. Nate83 says:

    It’s your right to dump half your cup out. I enjoy the debates.

    Just out of curiosity because I honestly don’t know. Is it the GM that is frustrating to you or the payroll being so low which would be more on Coonelly and Nutting. As NMR mentioned they probably had 4 or 5 positions of need to fill this off season and if only 20-25 million was given to NH to spend he would not be able to spend much more then 10 million on any one of those needs.

    I also am underwhelmed by what they have done so far this off season but I also realize there just wasn’t much in free agency that matched their needs. I also understand but don’t agree with the rationale of some saying then spend it all on AJ. I don’t want them to spend just to spend. This team will always need to get value on the dollar to compete. I trust they will find that value at some point during this year. They did last year.

  133. BostonsCommon says:

    I’ll disagree with that. Who is to say that’s not exactly how he felt, and exactly what he thought when the words came out of his mouth?

    Time and money change things. Maybe I’m a little naive, and maybe he was when he said it. But I have no reason to believe those words were not true.

  134. Nate83 says:

    Game changer for me as well NMR. 12 million seems like a reasonable offer.

  135. steelkings says:

    Is 21 million too much to spend on 2 players. Think about how different our conversation would be if only 2 thing would have went differently.

    1. Aj excepts the Pirates QUALITY
    2. The Pirates offer Loney the 3rd year he was seeking.

    We would be talking about challenging the Cardinals for the division. Loney/Sanchez is more than serviceable.

    No volquez …still in the range with money to spare. NH dropped the ball. Or never intended to spend 25 million to begin with.

    This message was typed on my phone , so sorry for the mistakes

  136. Travis Sawchik says:

    Foo, I don’t any player has ever accepted a QO. Moreover, I didn’t see Burnett as thinking he should take any paycut from his 2013 salary.

  137. NMR says:

    So you’re saying the qualifying offer wouldn’t have affected his value on the free agent market.

    Which is the exact opposite of what you’ve been writing in this blog all winter.

    That makes sense?

  138. Travis Sawchik says:

    Where did I suggest the QO wouldn’t affect his market?

    I doubt Burnett himself wanted any sort of paycut regardless of the realities of the QO and its limiting factors (I could be wrong but that’s me tying to get in AJ’s head). I just don’t think he would have signed the QO for a variety of reasons. And if even tagged with it, I bet he thought he could exceed $14m on open market.

  139. WILL says:

    @ Steelkings ..ahh lets not forget the extra 15-25 million of extra revenue to make that “check” even bigger…

  140. WILL says:

    agree.. with you….but the Nuttings motto is “i’m taking the money to the bank” the pirates were bought with 30 million in cash…and the owners take out half that amount out EVERY YEAR. not to mention the value of the franchise has gone up from 130 mill to 500 -600 mill..a nice tidy frofit for losing for that amount of time..JUST SAYING..do yyou want the money invested in the team ..or for the NUTTINGs TO become more wealthier..I believe that according forbes or someone similar they are the 6th wealthiest MLB owners..and that makes me angry..and every time that they don’t pony up for a player makes me ANGRIER…

  141. Nate83 says:

    That is a very fair question Steel and if it was up to me in hindsight based on what they did get I would have been happy with that money being spent on those two players. I think NH saw their being a few other holes (especially shortstop) to fill and it just people working number backwards but it’s starting to look like 17-19 million is what NH had to work with.

    So to answer your question in my opinion 21 million would not have been too much to spend on those two players but it was for NH based on the constraints put on team payroll by others.

  142. WILL says:

    better yet they need to be traded in july for whatever prospects the bucs need (1b, 3b,and a sp)..or they will have no assets to trde with..just prospects for prospects..we need a blue chip 1b last year…the ship is sinking..and sinking fast..

  143. WILL says:

    since we can afford pitchers and like A.J. we can kiss any world series hope good bye…27-30 spending place in payroll..1 team in history did it with a lower 20 -25 placement..the “marlins”..

  144. WILL says:

    anyone can say what they want but A.J. words were “as it stands right now , and I repeat as it stands right now it’s the bucs or retiring” i believe Rumbarter has copy of the interview.

  145. WILL says:

    are you kidding me ..come july ..the buc’s are a .500 team…time to “SELL, SELLL, SELL”..just saying

  146. WILL says:

    and we “give away” another 4 prospects..like we did last year for what it turn out to be 1 good month of BYRD

  147. WILL says:

    could it been they were informed of the PHILS offer and back down..and went to this..The Orioles have agreed to a three-year, $5.75 million contract with South Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon pending a physical, a Major League source said Thursday.

    The news comes a day after Yoon tweeted a picture of himself in an Orioles cap. His signing is the first big move by Baltimore this offseason…so it was burnett or yoon?

  148. RobertoForever says:

    Except THE most important thing for AJ was………….a no trade clause. You don’t get one with a QO.

    He would not have signed it, and then his market would be the same as Ubaldo, and he would have retired.

  149. RobertoForever says:

    great point Nate. It takes two parties with matching interest. Just because the Pirstes may have wanted Foster ( or J Johnson or Loney or AJ) doesn’t mean there was matching interest.

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