Bucs may need A.J. more than they care to admit
The Pirates continue to sit on A.J. Burnett’s fence, regarding his possible return to them as a luxury, taking the approach that he could put over the top a rotation that is already deep and solid.
Just the other day, GM Neal Huntington reiterated on 93.7-The Fan that if Burnett decided to return to the Pirates, he would “of all things, have to figure out the best way to deal with a surplus of pitching.”
However, is Burnett more indispensable than most — even fans who want him back primarily for his aura and clubhouse leadership — give him credit for?
In his two seasons with the Bucs, Burnett was one of five contributing starting pitchers. While he was the model of consistency, the other four have all been half-season wonders. The stellar 2013 Pittsburgh debuts of Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano obviously tweak the numbers, but regard these cumulative records for the 2012-13 quintet:
- Burnett 26-21 [with 33 team wins in his starts]
- Jeff Locke 11-10 [16 team wins]
- James McDonald 14-12 
- Wandy Rodriguez 11-8 
- Charlie Morton 9-10 .