Pirates will shop while starting pitcher Burnett makes his decision
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Two months after their season ended, the Pirates still are waiting for right-hander A.J. Burnett to decide whether he will retire.
However, Burnett's indecision won't keep the Pirates stuck in neutral during MLB's annual winter meetings.
Monday, a source close to free agent Bronson Arroyo said the veteran righty would welcome a chance to rejoin the Pirates, who drafted him in 1995 and later released him. Terry Bross, Arroyo's agent, was scheduled to speak with the Pirates at the Walt Disney World Swan hotel.
The Minnesota Twins also are very interested in Arroyo. Bross met with the Twins on Monday, and Fox Sports reported there was “momentum” in talks between the sides.
Arroyo has targeted a three-year contract but might be willing to settle for a two-year deal with an option. He made $16.4 million this past season with the Cincinnati Reds.
If Arroyo goes elsewhere, the Pirates still have options, including some beyond the free-agent market. They could pursue a trade for Oakland left-hander Brett Anderson. The Chicago Cubs reportedly are open to dealing Jeff Samardzija.
General manager Neal Huntington said Burnett remains the team's first choice, but the Pirates will keep shopping while he mulls his answer.
“We are still engaged and working through that process with him,” Huntington said Monday. “That may change as we get deeper into the offseason. I hope he comes back. If he doesn't, we'll appreciate the two years he played in Pittsburgh.”
Burnett led the team this past season with 191 innings pitched. He has worked at least 186 innings in each of the past six seasons.
That kind of dependability has immense value, which is why Arroyo, who has tossed at least 200 innings in all but one season since 2005, caught Huntington's eye. Still, Arroyo will turn 37 in February and could see his durability ebb.
“An ‘innings eater' is hard to come by,” Huntington said. “Once you get past a certain group of starters who just seem to throw 200 innings every year ... there's a huge fluctuation. Sometimes, you're better served just getting the guy you really like versus the guy who's eaten up innings in the past because that innings eater might not eat up innings for you next year.”
Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez was one of those 200-inning pitchers until this year, when an arm injury held him to 62 innings.
After the season, Rodriguez triggered his contract option and will make $13 million in 2014. Huntington said Rodriguez is in the early stages of a throwing program and remains on track to be ready for spring training.
Huntington said the Pirates will not be bidders for potential free agent Masahiro Tanaka. It's still not clear whether Tanaka will be posted by the Japanese team that owns his rights. If he's posted, teams must come up with a $20 million fee just to be able to bid on Tanaka.
“I don't think Tanaka's coming to Pittsburgh,” Huntington said. “I think we can put that one to bed, unfortunately.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates sign Corey Hart to 1-year deal
- Pirates notebook: New catcher Cervelli eager to bond with staff
- Ex-Pirate Parker fights against Parkinson’s with optimistic attitude
- Pirates notebook: Team ‘more relevant’ as Winter Meetings end
- MLB notebook: Pirates’ Liriano gets $2 million bonus as part of 3-year, $39 million deal
- Pirates’ struggling catcher Sanchez sent home from Dominican Winter League
- Pirates trade for left-handed reliever Bastardo
- Pirates tender deals to 11 players, cut ties with Sanchez
- Pirates target rotation help at Winter Meetings