While teams like the Baltimore Orioles expressed offseason interest in A.J. Burnett, it was the Pittsburgh Pirates who were most interested in the pitcher. Burnett had a bit of a career resurgence with the Pirates in the season prior and seemed to be a perfect match for a return to the Steel City.
But knowing his career was on the down-slope, Burnett began asking the Pittsburgh Pirates for a contract they couldn’t afford. The two went back-and-forth for a few weeks before Pittsburgh decided to wash their hands of the situation. That left Burnett with few options considering he had waited so long to make a decision and he ended up signing with the Philadelphia Phillies, though he did get the money he so desired (at least for a season).
However, with the Philadelphia Phillies expected to be sellers come the July trade deadline A.J. Burnett is more than available and the Pirates, still seemingly longing for a reunion, sent one of their top scouts to watch their former pitcher recently.
A Pittsburgh scout — not on his normal coverage — watched Burnett’s start Friday at Turner Field. The Pirates could use a boost to a rotation of Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton, Edinson Volquez, Jeff Locke and Vance Worley.
Given Burnett’s less than impressive plus 4.00 ERA this season and his potential free agent status at season end, it’s not expected that his price tag will be all that high. Of course, the Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t the only team to have interest in A.J. Burnett so whomever does acquire the veteran pitcher will have to beat out other suitors.