A.J. Burnett is entering the final chapter of that failed five-year, $82.5 million contract that he signed in December 2008 with the Yankees. Having made all that money, the 36-year-old righty is thinking about walking away from the game a bit early.
Burnett told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Wednesday that he might retire from baseball when the 2013 season ends to spend more time with his family. He’s being pressured by his Pirates teammates to stick around for two more years and help lead the organization’s turnaround, but Burnett has two kids nearing their teenage years and he wants to be more involved in their lives as they grow into young adults.
“It’s a family thing,” the veteran starter said Wednesday in Pirates camp. “My kids are 9 and 12 now. I’m sure if I mention (retiring) to (the kids), they’d say, ‘No, keep playing.’ But … I don’t know.”
Burnett posted a superb 3.51 ERA in 31 starts last season for the Bucs, striking out 180 batters in 202 1/3 innings. He was traded from New York to Pittsburgh in February 2012 for two minor leaguers.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.
Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.
The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.
The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.
The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.