The first came prior to the end of last season when the Bucs made Burnett an offer for one yer and $8.5MM. The report states that Burnett was “insulted with an offer that represented a 47 percent pay cut from his 2013 salary of $16.5 million”. When the Pirates acquired Burnett from the New York Yankees, the Pinstripes agreed to pay $20MM of the remaining $33MM on his deal. Last season, at least $8MM of the $16.5MM Burnett received was paid by the Yankees. Perrotto’s report states it was $8.5MM while a separate report from Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes it was $8MM. What a half a million, right?
So why the seemingly low offer? Perrotto:
The Pirates’ rationale was that the Yankees paid $8.5 million of that $16.5 million, part of the terms of trade that sent Burnett to Pittsburgh at the start of spring training in 2012.
This rationale flat-out sucks. I get that Burnett is getting long in the tooth (he’s 37), but this is a bit of a slap in the face. The $16MM Burnett got from the Phillies might be an overpay, but if this was the way “negotiations” actually transpired, well, can’t say I blame Burnett for leaving. Especially if this rationale was explained to Burnett and/or his agent.
Perrotto notes that the Bucs upped their offer to $11MM while the Sawchik report states the offer was increased to $12MM. At this point, I don’t think it mattered.
What may have been that proverbial straw, again, as being reported by Perrotto, was when Pirates manager Clint Hurdle decided to not use Burnett in Game 5 of the NLDS, a game the Pirates would drop to the eventual NL champion St. Louis Cardinals. Burnett was rocked in Game 1 of the series (2 IP, 7 R, 6 H). Hurdle told Burnett of his decision after a tough Pirates Game 4 loss, and Burnett was enraged by the decision.
You know they say that actions speak louder than words? Apparently, Burnett’s action said plenty. From Perrotto again:
While the clubhouse was closed to the media, sources on the inside said it made for an awkward scene with the players still upset about suffering a tough 2-1 loss and failing to clinch the series while Burnett ranted.
That will endear yourself to your teammates. Perrotto also says that Burnett threatened not to even go to St. Louis with the club. Hurdle told Burnett that if the Pirates won Game 5, Burnett would get the starting nod in either Game 1 or Game 2 of the NLCS.
Just to note, Gerrit Cole got that Game 5 start…and the Cards won by a 6-1 score. Cole pitched a good game going 5+ innings, surrendering only a pair of runs on three hits. The Cardinals plated three runs in the 8th to seal the deal.
Perrotto adds that a Burnett source told him that being bypassed in Game 5 of the NLDS is what fueled a return to baseball instead of opting for retirement.
And in case you’re wondering, the Phillies visit PNC Park July 4-6. Fireworks anyone?