A month has passed since A.J. Burnett last pitched but the free agent is still undecided whether he will return to pitch in 2014 or if his loss in Game 1 of the NLDS in St. Louis will mark his last major league action. Free agents could begin signing with clubs at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. “A.J. remains undecided,” his agent Darek Braunecker wrote in an email to the Tribune-Review on Tuesday. Burnett led National League starting pitchers in both strikeout rate (9.8 strikeouts per nine innings) and groundball rate (56.5 percent) in 2013 but was not extended a qualifying offer by the Pirates. The one-year qualifying offer of $14.1 million guarantees clubs draft-pick compensation should the player sign elsewhere. The qualifying offer figures to be below the market value for quality free agent starting pitching this offseason, though perhaps too high a price for the Pirates. “Nothing has changed in terms of our situation with A.J.,” general manager Neal Huntington told the Trib on Monday. “This decision is not a reflection of our valuation of A.J. It's more a reflection of our desire to build a championship roster. A $14.1 million (offer) is a significant chunk of our estimated budget for next year.
Burnett undecided about pitching in 2014
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Nov 5