Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 11/4/13
Qualifying offers were due on Monday, and the big news of the day was the Pirates’ choice NOT to extend one to A.J. Burnett. If you weren’t aware, the qualifying offer is a $14 million, one year contract teams can offer to certain players set to leave as free agents. If the player declines and signs with another team, the first team would acquire the second team’s first round draft pick (unless that is a top-1o pick, in which case they get the team’s next pick). Basically, it’s a decent reward for teams set to lose good players to free agency, but can be tricky when someone’s value appears to be right around that $14M number. Burnett, of course, is a very interesting case. He’s publicly stated that he’s choosing between the Pirates – no other teams – and retirement. If that’s the absolute truth, this news is probably irrelevant. The Pirates wouldn’t get the draft pick if A.J. had turned down the offer and retired – they’d only get it if he signed elsewhere. There definitely seems to be an overwhelming sense of trust towards Burnett’s statement by the Pirates and fans. I believe those are his intentions, but you can never be 100% sure. People change their minds, especially when large sums of money are involved. What if Baltimore or Washington – both located near his Maryland home – come in with a great offer? The Pirates would miss out on a free draft pick in that situation – and that’s not something to be scoffed at. Ask the Cardinals and Michael Wacha, who was acquired with one of those picks and prevented the Bucs from advancing to the NLCS at home. So, not offering him the $14M is a risk, but probably not a huge risk in that regard if you really do trust he’s choosing between Pittsburgh and retirement. The other risk is the actual valuation. Does this mean the Pirates aren’t willing to pay Burnett $14M? I kind of assumed they’d pay him that much or a bit more – and while they still could – this may be an indication they want to shoot lower. Burnett is 36, has had a few injury problems, sucked in his playoff start, and rubbed some people the wrong way late in the year.  Despite all that, I don’t really see how you can value him lower than the QO. Sure, that’s going to be a lot for the Pirates to pay one player, but their budget is going to increase – possibly close to the $100M mark – and Burnett is legitimately worth it. In addition to his status as an emotional veteran leader and a stabilizing force in the rotation, he delivered a 3.30 ERA last year, backed up by an even better 2.80 FIP and 2.92 xFIP (it wasn’t a “lucky” season, in fact it was a bit unlucky by those metrics). He led the National League in strikeout rate.  Despite his age, he has enough left on his fastball to set up a wicked curveball, and he has benefited from the Pirates’ improved defense with a ton of ground balls. He led the National League in ground ball rate, too. Strikeouts and ground balls are a pretty good (and sustainable) combination. Fangraphs pegs Burnett’s season at 3.0 WAR, and a decent rough estimate for 1 WAR on the free agent market is $5M. That puts his 2013 at a $15M value, and he missed some time with an injury. Also consider that the FA market will be inflated this year with additional TV money coming in to every team, and we almost always seem to be amazed at the money mediocre-to-decent starting pitchers end up with. Now, the other side of this argument – and possibly a very valid one – is that Burnett has made a ton of money over the years and a few extra million here or there isn’t going to sway him one way or the other, if he truly is deciding between retirement and Pittsburgh. If that theory holds and he ends up with the Bucs at a cheaper price, then that’s a big win for Neal Huntington and company. But if he retires (and could have been swayed by more $…which he almost certainly wouldn’t admit, but could be the case) or does the unthinkable and signs elsewhere, they’ll be making a significant mistake by failing to offer $14 million. With some extra money to spend, a fairly weak free agent market, and only a few other holes to address, I would have preferred avoiding that risk. Other news and notes: Francisco Liriano won the NL Comeback Player of the Year award, as well as the Players Choice Comeback Player of the Year award. He also won the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year award a few weeks ago. How many of these awards are there? Andrew McCutchen won the NL Players Choice Most Outstanding Player award for the second straight season. MLBTR breaks down the Pirates’ arb-eligible players, with salary projections. 
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL denies sending Donald Trump letter about schedule

Michael Bennett calls out NFL stars for not speaking up on social matters

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker