Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett, told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, that he is considering retirement after the 5-year $82 million dollar contract he signed with the New York Yankees runs out.
Burnett, 36, made his Major League debut in 1999 with the Florida Marlins, followed by stops in Toronto and New York and has a win-loss record of 137-121 coming into this season. He’s coming off a very prductive season for the Pirates where he posted a 3.51 ERA while winning 16 games.
The 2-times World Series champion says that if he returns then it’ll only be to the Pirates.
“I enjoy it here and I enjoy these guys,” Burnett said Thursday after pitching three innings in his final spring training tuneup. “If I was to keep playing, I wouldn’t want it to be anywhere else but Pittsburgh. My wife and I talk about it now and then. But it’s something I’ve got to put on the back burner. I’m just going to concentrate on this season, one start at a time.”
Burnett says that he hasn’t talked to the Pirates about a new contract and that the reason for his hesitance to come back is because of his family.
“I know it’s going to come up,” Burnett said. “These guys (teammates) keep getting on me about it. They keep saying, ‘Two more (years)! Two more!’ I don’t know. We’ll see.”
“It’s a family thing,” Burnett said. “My kids are 9 and 12 now. I’m sure if I mention retiring to them, they’d say, ‘No, keep playing.’ But … I don’t know.”
Burnett has had an interesting career; he’s had more seasons dominated by injuries and lengthy periods of sub par performances than he’s had seasons where he’s actually been a dominant pitcher. Yet he’s been fortunate to receive two lucrative contracts in his career due to his unquestionable talent, from two organizations that probably feel like they didn’t get a proper return on their investment.