A.J. Burnett, Pittsburgh Pirates agree to one-year deal


The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed right-handed pitcher A.J. Burnett to a one-year contract, the team announced earlier today. Burnett will be paid $8.5 million in 2015, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Burnett, 37, returns to the Pirates after spending one season with the Philadelphia Phillies, who he signed a one year deal with during the 2013 offseason for $15 million. After the 2014 season, both Philadelphia and Burnett declined their sides of a $15 million mutual option, leading Burnett to decline his $12.75 million team option earlier this month. The reunion between the pitcher and the Pirates comes at no surprise, as Burnett told reporters that he loved his two years in Pittsburgh and that he told his agent that he would not sign with any other team besides the Pirates this offseason, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

In his only season with the Phillies in 2014, Burnett posted a 8-18 record, along with a 4.59 ERA and 1.0 fWAR. Along with his 18 losses leading the league, he added a 4.14 FIP, 8.00 K/9, 4.04 BB/9, 0.84 HR/9 and a 50.9% ground ball rate. This was coming off of a superb season with the Pirates in which he recorded a 10-11 record, along with a 3.30 ERA and 4.0 fWAR. Despite his losing record in 2013, he added a 2.80 FIP, 9.85 K/9, 3.16 BB/9, 0.52 HR/9 and a 56.5% ground ball rate. In two seasons with Pittsburgh, Burnett posted a 26-21 record, along with a 3.41 ERA.

The Pirates had interest in re-signing Burnett after his contract expired after the 2013 season. However, with interest from his hometown Baltimore Orioles and the Phillies, his asking price skyrocketed up and became out of the Pirates’ price range. Now, Burnett gets to return to the Pirates at a “hometown discount.” He left $4.25 million on the table from the Phillies in order to return to Pittsburgh, where he hopes they can win in what will likely be his final season.