The Pittsburgh Pirates had until 5 p.m. on Monday to extend a qualifying offer to veteran pitcher A.J. Burnett, but the team did not make the right-handed pitcher an offer.
A qualifying offer is a one-year, $14.1 M deal, and if the player rejects it and signs elsewhere, the former team would get a compensation pick.
Burnett has been deciding on retirement or whether to return to the Pirates for one more season. Burnett was 10-11 with 209 strikeouts and a .330 ERA this season for Pittsburgh.
Despite the fact that the Pirates didn’t make Burnett a qualifying offer, it does not mean they don’t plan on resigning the 37-year-old. The Pirates feel quite certain that Burnett is not looking to move on with another team so they didn’t need to put that kind of money on the table to guarantee that.
“With AJ being 37 years old and with him having said, I believe on your airwaves, he’s only interested in playing for the Pirates, maybe the Pirates didn’t feel a compelling reason there to make the qualifying offer to put the $14 million on the table just to guarantee he won’t go somewhere else if it’s not likely he’s going to go somewhere else,” said Tribune-Review Pirates Beat Writer Rob Biertempfel on 93.7 The Fan. “Talking with Neal Huntington a few minutes ago, he said nothing has changed in terms of our situation with AJ, and he said basically it comes down to our evaluations of AJ and our evaluation of what it’s going to take to put this team together next year, the Pirates just don’t see $14 million fitting into that plan.”
Burnett was the only one of the eligible Pirates even considered for a qualifying offer. Clint Barmes played out a two-year, $10.5 million contract and if he returns would not be the everyday shortstop. Jeff Karstens missed the entire season due to injuries. Justin Morneua and Marlon Byrd were both ineligible because they joined the team in-season.