PITTSBURGH (KDKA 93-7 The Fan)- The Pirates are going through spring training workouts in Bradenton. But A.J. Burnett is not one of those pitchers, as he signed a one-year contract with the Phillies. Pirates President Frank Coonelly told Bob Pompeani that the club made a strong effort to re-sign Burnett.
“We made a very strong effort, I believe, to sign A.J., made a meaningful offer to him,” Coonelly said. “I think at the end of the day he made the decision to pitch in Philadelphia closer to home and obviously the Phillies offered him a very strong contract.”
The club did not make a qualifying offer to Burnett, which could have awarded the club a draft choice when he signed with the Phillies. Coonelly explained why the club did not make the offer.
“If you offer the qualifying offer, the player has a right to accept it,” Coonelly said. “We didn’t think it was appropriate given our roster composition, given the team we had, to offer the $14.1 million.”
Pompeani asked Coonelly about the size of the payroll, and Coonelly responded that fans should wait to see what moves the team makes during the season.
“I guess I would say let’s wait and see where we end up,” Coonelly said. “Over each of the last three years, our payroll increased by $10 million, each of the last three years we budgeted for that number to be higher this year as well. So we’re investing the revenues that we generate from the ballclub back into the team. Let’s see where we end up. I think it’s more important where the payroll ends up as opposed to where the payroll starts at this point in time.”