Pirates’ Pitching Coach Expects Burnett To Retire

There's still no word from A.J. Burnett on whether he will pitch in 2014 or retire, but Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage is moving forward under the expectation that Burnett will call it a career, he said in an appearance on 93-7 The Fan Morning Show in Pittsburgh this morning:

"I'm on the percentage point where he's not going to come back. I've got to prepare my guys with no A.J. I've got to prepare the pitching with no A.J. So that's the route I'm going. If he does come back — hey, all right! But right now, I'm leaning that way, where he's going to retire."

Burnett's decision on whether or not to retire has taken months longer than initially anticipated, but there's yet to be any indication that he would give consideration to pitching for another team. The 37-year-old has stated on multiple occasions that he will only pitch for the Pirates if he decides to play again in 2014, though his hometown Orioles have expressed interest should he decide to change that thinking. The Pirates already have six starters with Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke, Wandy Rodriguez and Edinson Volquez on board, although Burnett could certainly be worked into the mix.

Searage went on to say that Locke experienced arm fatigue in 2013, leading to his precipitous decline late in the season, and he's hoping Locke can "wipe the slate clean" heading into 2014. He also wants to try not to overload Volquez with tips on how to harness his potential and says he finds it best to "kill them with kindness" when working with such reclamation projects. Searage has had plenty of success in that department, as the Pirates have enjoyed tremendous rebound performances from Burnett, Liriano and Mark Melancon upon arrival in Pittsburgh.


22 Responses to Pirates’ Pitching Coach Expects Burnett To Retire Leave a Reply

  1. Mike Adamson 2 years ago

    I hope AJ changes his mind he still has it and the Pirates are a better team with him.

  2. jalcorn427 2 years ago

    6 Starters – Wandy Rodriguez is ahead of Locke.

    • Todd Smith 2 years ago

      Could probably throw Taillon in there as well…he’s almost certain to get a June/July call-up once they push his free agent clock back a year.

      • jalcorn427 2 years ago

        And Jeanmar, Cumpton, Pimental, Irwin, Wilk as well. Lots of intersting depth. That said, i’d still rather have AJ. Maybe the Clemens/Oswalt plan works for all involved.

  3. Mountaineer10 2 years ago

    Wandy not mentioned as part of the rotation. Will he be healthy for spring and even if he is, might the Pirates try to find a trade?

    • Todd Smith 2 years ago

      He’s been down in mini camp in Florida this week with the rest of the team throwing. I think he’s fine now, the question is how long can he manage to stay healthy.

    • jalcorn427 2 years ago

      Wandy is playing catch pain free as of mini-camp yesterday. The Bucs think he will be available, but I have my doubts. At any rate, he’s on the depth chart.

    • Steve Adams 2 years ago

      Oversight on my part. He’s in there now. Thanks.

  4. Dave Pierce 2 years ago

    Heard the interview this morning. Would be shocked if he never pitches again in the majors. Would NOT be shocked if it was with another team or maybe he waits a couple months (See: Roy Oswalt & Roger Clemens). It’s very rare a player passes on this much money and opportunity when they have an ego (not saying it’s a bad ego–I think it drives him to win/get better) the size of AJ Burnett’s.

  5. Karkat 2 years ago

    I feel like after this long, he probably knows what he wants to do, but he’s having trouble finalizing it.

  6. Jeff Weissbuch 2 years ago

    Is Ray the best pitching coach in baseball?

  7. Marinersforever71 2 years ago

    One solution of the Pirates pitching staff is to trade either Gerrit Cole or Francisco Liriano & outfielder Jose Tabata or Travis Snider to the Seattle Mariners for Nick Franklin, Justin Smoak that can fill the void at first base, Tyler Pike, Carson Smith, and Stefan Romero. Franklin can then be dealt either to the Brewers or Blue Jays from the Pirates for a player or two needed for the team as both can agreed upon. Jack Z & Neil Huntington should consider making this move to benefit both teams.

    • Lee Foo Young 2 years ago

      no soup for you.

    • Ron Loreski 2 years ago

      Maybe if Littlefield was still GM. Only the Pirates would take Ackley instead of Franklin.

    • jalcorn427 2 years ago

      Humorous. Nevermind that Smoak was worth less last year than Gaby Sanchez who we already have. Six years of a top of the rotation SP should be able to be had for spare parts [sarcasm]. The Pirates don’t need prospects, they need immediate contributors at 1B and RF. Tabata/Snider will be just fine until Polanco fills RF. 1B is the obvious need, but there are no available upgrades worth trading an ace for. We are better off letting Lambo/Gaby platoon and see what happens.

      • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

        Dustin Ackley is a better trade chip than Smoak to the Pirates w/ Tyler Pike, Carson Smith or Brandon Maurer, and Nick Franklin (gets traded a bit later to a team like the Brewers that needs second base help). Which of the outfielders between Marte/Snider/or Tabata & pitcher Cole/Liriano/or Locke are willing to be traded to the Mariners?

      • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

        Dustin Ackley is a better trade chip than Smoak to the Pirates w/ Tyler Pike, Carson Smith or Brandon Maurer, and Nick Franklin (gets traded a bit later to a team like the Brewers that needs second base help). Which of the outfielders between Marte/Snider/or Tabata & pitcher Cole/Liriano/or Locke are willing to be traded to the Mariners?

  8. Lee Foo Young 2 years ago

    AJ wants to play….AJ’s wife wants him to stay home.

    Any guesses who is gonna win THAT battle???

    :) :) :)

    • jalcorn427 2 years ago

      I think the Oswalt/Rocket plan could work well here. AJ gets to stay home for the end of the school year (I believe its his son who wants him to retire), then come back when need arises in June/July.

  9. OldHaus 2 years ago

    Anyone remember when the Pirates didn’t have enough quality starters to fill out their roster? Now we can complain 6 decent starters aren’t enough. Locke has stamina issues and injuries are likely with this crew. Look at starting staffs over the years and you’ll see teams almost always need around 7-8 starters to fill out the year. If not AJ to make it 7 starters, who?

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