A.J. Burnett free agency: Pirates want pitcher back

Doug Pensinger

After an excellent season for both the player and the team, the Pirates would like A.J. Burnett to re-sign for 2014.

Pittsburgh Pirates team president Frank Coonelly says the team would love to have A.J. Burnett back if he wants to return, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Burnett appeared on 93.7 FM's Colin Dunlap Show in Pittsburgh Monday and said that his decision is not whether he will sign with another team, but whether he will return to the Pirates or retire.

"He’s got a decision to make, first and foremost, whether it’s time for him to spend more time with his family or whether he thinks he can go another year," Coonelly said Tuesday. "If he decides that he wants to come back, we definitely want A.J. back."

Burnett also said on the radio program that the Pirates starting pitcher choice in the deciding Game 5 of the NLDS will not influence his decision. In that game, the Pirates chose to pass over Burnett and start rookie Gerrit Cole instead. The Pirates would go on to lose the game to the Cardinals.

Burnett, 36, made 30 starts for the Pirates in 2013, posting a 3.30 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. The Pirates are the fourth franchise he has pitched for in a 15-year career.

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