Pirates don't expect A.J. Burnett back in 2014

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates had been hoping for another year of A.J. Burnett in their starting rotation, but at this point, team president Frank Coonelly says the team isn't counting on Burnett's return.

While they're leaving the door open to a possible return, Pirates' team president Frank Coonelly says the club does not expect A.J. Burnett to return to their rotation for the 2014 season, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. The 37-year-old Burnett is reportedly considering retirement, but has also been loosely connected to the Orioles and Phillies, also per Crasnick.

The Pirates did not extend Burnett a $14.1 million qualifying offer after the 2013 season under the assumption that he would return to Pittsburgh on a one-year deal or would choose to retire.

After two disappointing years in 2010 and 2011 for the Yankees, Burnett underwent a career renaissance over the last two seasons in Pittsburgh culminating in a career best strikeout percentage and the second lowest walk rate of his career in 2013. He turned himself into an extreme ground ball pitcher by using his sinker more often, but was able to do so without sacrificing punch-outs.

He has also been quite durable in recent years, making at least 30 starts in each of the last six seasons, so Burnett's decision is not likely based on his ability make it through another season. If Burnett does not return, the Pirates will likely feature a rotation that includes Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Edison Volquez, and Wandy Rodriguez, assuming they don't make any further offseason moves. While it is unlikely, the Pirates would have the pieces to land an elite starter like David Price on the trade market if they decide to pursue a significant upgrade in the wake of losing Burnett.

More from SB Nation MLB:

Masahiro Tanaka signs with the Yankees | What's Plan B?

Neyer: When cheating is the culture

Alfonso Soriano: Recollecting an albatross

Goldman: One man can make a difference ... but will Tanaka?

2014 MLB salary arbitration tracker

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.