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.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.
Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.
Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.