PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Since the day he left the Pirates, it seems the name A.J. Burnett has always been one to stir emotion with the Pirates’ fan base. Apparently, that name is having the same affect in the Pirates’ clubhouse.
According to MLB on FOX reporter Ken Rosenthal, members of the Pirates are lobbying to the team to bring back the right-handed starter at the trade deadline.
Burnett is 6-9 with a 4.08 ERA in 21 starts this year while striking out 113.
The main obstacle to overcome in any deal involving Burnett though will be his contract. The former Pirate signed a 2-year $22.5 million deal with the Phillies this offseason and has a mutual option year that varies based on starts made. Rosenthal has more on that as well.
There have yet to be any reports on what the Pirates would have to give up in order to acquire Burnett.
The Pirates are looking for starters to add to their rotation after the disappointing first half by Francisco Liriano and the number of injuries Gerrit Cole has faced so far this year.
Pirates Broadcaster Greg Brown joined Starkey and Mueller for his weekly segment and said he heard AJ Burnett was very touched by the teams tribute to him when he pitched against them earlier this year and would relish the opportunity to come back and help this team make the playoffs again.
“I know he told some people in the organization, some players and some others, that the feeling he got when he went and took the mound and he saw that tribute and the fans response, I mean you guys know Burnett’s ego is huge, I don’t mean that disparagingly, it just is,” Brown told us. “He loves to be Batman, and would love to come riding in on a white horse to save the day. It’s not surprising at all that he has told people, apparently, that he only wants to be traded to Pittsburgh, not even to Baltimore where he lives now.”