It has been fun to watch A.J. Burnett more or less resurrect his MLB career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The New York Yankees traded Burnett to the then-lowly Pirates in February of 2012 as New York regretted the $82.5 million it threw Burnett’s way in 2008.
With that being said, the Pirates’ fan base has taken Burnett in like you wouldn’t believe and he’s easily Pittsburgh’s most reliable starting pitcher. However, Burnett’s start in Game 1 of the ALDS might just be his last in a Pirates’ uniform considering he’s a free agent after the season.
At 36 years old, Burnett definitely won’t be getting an $82 million contract this time around, yet there are a few MLB teams that would love to have a wily veteran at the top of their staff. While Pittsburgh is usually stingy when it comes to top-notch free agents, you have got to wonder; why would the Pirates let a productive Burnett leave after leading the team to the postseason for the first time in over two decades?
Therefore, it’s time for the Pirates to buckle down and give Burnett a contract that can keep him in town for at least another two years because Clint Hurdle‘s team needs a consistent arm at the top of its rotation. Not to mention, the Pirates have a surplus of young pitchers working their way to the major leagues, which means a veteran like Burnett is a necessity.
For now, we monitor Burnett and the Pirates to see if this relationship is coming to a close or if Pittsburgh opens its pocketbook.