Bucs must – and can – meet A.J.’s price. Here’s how

I think A.J. Burnett has a new conflict.

At the beginning, it was between continuing mound time and more family time. But now it’s between getting paid his open-market value, or accepting a [significant] discount to help finish the job in Pittsburgh, a city he has truly come to embrace.

And this is where Neal Huntington’s already-established creativity can make a reunion happen. The Pirates GM showed his ability to think outside the box with his dogged renegotiation of Francisco Liriano’s original deal after the left-hander had fractured his right arm last winter.

Now Huntington has to huddle with Darek Braunecker, Burnett’s agent, and make it happen.

This is how it could be done:

Establish Burnett’s true value. At his performance level yet his age [37], say it’s $15 million, a reasonable starting point.

Huntington then offers him $17 million — a $500,000 raise over his 2013 salary, just for good-faith.

But — and this is where the creativity enters — make $10 million of that deferred. Contract deferments are quite common — particularly when team elders volunteer for them for the specific purpose of easing their team’s financial burden in the pursuit of titles.

For someone obviously on the brink of retirement, what could be more appealing than guaranteed post-career income for a number of years? And with the increasing revenue stream from their share of MLB’s national TV contract, the Pirates could comfortable carry such an IOU for Burnett.

That’s it. Do it.


I like the Idea but I thought MLB doesn’t allow for this to happen anymore with deferred contracts….

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I could live with that approach as long as the money is not guaranteed but based on performance. A.J. has not convinced me of his sincerity about his desire to pitch in Pittsburgh. He was and is a distraction. His performance the second part of last year was not up to snuff and he is usually on the DL at some point. Pay him the same $8 million or so guaranteed that they have been paying and allow the remainder to be paid based on 35 starts, 210 innings and 3.30E.R.A.

I like the deferred proposal. in addition, AJ may be interested in summer time with his family. A offer to permit him to begin his season on June 1or another acceptable date may be of interest( prorated). Possibly, a day or two a week with family could also be an option;however, we need his off day time in the locker room and on the bench. Some combination of options should be able!

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