PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) -Pirates broadcaster and former pitcher Bob Walk joined the Fan Morning Show Wednesday morning for his weekly appearance and a 2013 season recap.

“A great step forward,” Walk said summing up the 2013 season. “It got the bad taste of last year out of their mouth. It was a great success.”

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Walk said the way the season ended shows what the Pirates need to be looking at during the winter. He said the offense needs to be a little less hit or miss and they need to make sure this great pitching staff doesn’t take a step back.

Bob said watching the playoffs shows you how important pitching is and the Pirates had a great staff this year, but they can’t take a step backward. He said the Pirates will be challenged by that young staff the Cardinals will have for years to come.

One of those pitchers who had a great year was A.J. Burnett, who is a free agent. Walk said he would love to have him back if it makes sense for the Pirates. He is a guy that might not have top of the rotation stuff anymore, but he can still shut people down and would be a nice middle of the rotation guy.

He would expect that Burnett would consider the Pirates, Nationals and Orioles as they are close to home. Walk says he will be curious to see how the bad taste he had in his mouth from getting passed over by Cole in Game 5 of the NLDS may play a role in this decision.

Bob says that he hopes the Pirates do make a real push to keep Marlon Byrd. He thinks he was the one guy all year that you could count on with runners in scoring position. There is nobody better to hold down that right field position until Gregory Polanco is ready.

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He also thinks the Pirates really need to make a multi year offer this off-season to Pedro Alvarez similar to the one they did with Andrew McCutchen.

The Pirates seem to have set themselves up for a bright future, but are they a perennial contender now?

Walk said they have a multi year window to have success to be a perennial contender depends on what the farm system will provide.

“The blueprint is there for everyone to see,” Walk said. “But to keep it up, the execution needs to be there every year. You can’t take any time off.”

Listen to the full interview with Bob Walk here:

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