Pirates Beat Writer Rob Biertempfel: Bucs Still Interested In AJ Burnett
PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – After word came out Monday that the Pirates did not extend a qualifying offer to Pitcher AJ Burnett, Tribune-Review Pirates Beat Writer Rob Biertempfel got on the phone with General Manager Neal Huntington and then talked to Starkey, Miller and Mueller about the teams plan for their free-agent-to-be.
“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,” Biertempfel said. “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.”
Biertempfel also addresses the rumors of the Pirates thinking about a two-year deal for Burnett and what he thinks a deal would look like if the two sides come to an agreement.
“The Pirates, I think are going to kind of stand firm on this a little bit,” he said. “A two-year deal, yeah, I could see potentially that happening, but I don’t know again $25 (million), that might be a bit more amenable, I think that might be something they might want to explore. But boy, you’ve got the risk there.”
Things wrapped up with Biertempfel discussing how these qualifying offers work when teams make them to players, and what the Pirates rotation could look like if Burnett does decide to retire.