Pittsburgh Pirates Surprise Everyone By Not Giving A.J. Burnett Qualifying Offer

By Zach Morrison
A.J. Burnett
Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

My thoughts on the Pittsburgh Pirates potentially giving A.J. Burnett the $14.1 million qualifying offer have changed drastically in the past 24 hours. A few days ago I wrote that the Pirates would be absolutely insane to not give him the qualifying offer. Now, I think they might have made the right decision by deciding against offering Burnett $14.1 million.

If you haven’t read my piece on why the Pirates should have given Burnett the qualifying offer, you can either click on the link I posted above or you can read this little summary I’m about to provide you. I basically said the Pirates should give him the qualifying offer because he is one of the best pitchers in baseball and he is worth the $14.1 million.

Now that I think about it, I would have had mixed feelings about this topic no matter what the Pirates decided to do. If the Pirates had given Burnett the qualifying offer, I would have wondered if the Bucs could have signed him to a cheaper one-year deal, maybe worth around $10 or $11 million. Since the Pirates didn’t give him the qualifying offer, I have some legitimate concerns.

Even though Burnett has said he is going to retire or return to the Pirates for another year, it seems risky to rely completely on his word. What if a team like the Baltimore Orioles — Burnett lives in Maryland — offers Burnett a two-year deal worth $25 million to play close to home? He would at least consider that, right? Two years, a contender, more guaranteed money and he would get the chance to play close to where his family lives.

I would have understood the reasoning no matter what the Pirates opted to do. I am easily swayed when thinking about this. All I know for sure is that by not giving Burnett the qualifying offer, the Bucs are certainly playing with fire and relying on the word of a player that could easily change his mind if the right opportunity comes along. Then, because of not giving him the qualifying offer, the Bucs could lose Burnett and not receive a compensation pick in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft.

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