A.J. Burnett signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.
The Pittsburgh Pirates waited for Burnett all off-season, telling him they cared, expressing their desire to bring him back, and then giving him the room he needed to make a decision. In the end all of those efforts were for not, as Burnett did not get back together with them.
The Phillies signed Burnett to a one-year deal for $16 million. Jon Heyman of CBS reports that the Pirates were out-bid, as they offered him a deal for $12 million.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 13, 2014
The interesting thing is that Burnett, who really did appear close to retirement for much of the off-season, has made it clear that comfort level is an important factor for him. It appears he was comfortable in Pittsburgh last season, as he posted some of the best numbers of his career at age 36.
In the end it looks like money talked in this case. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. But it is hard to argue that Philadelphia, with their crazy market and kind-of-awful roster, boast much of anything over the Pirates for Burnett except for the money they offered.
That leaves the Pirates frustrated and empty-handed, though they would now appear to be free to get serious about upgrading at first base.