A.J. Burnett is a 36-year-old free agent with over $120 million in career earnings and is considering retiring to spend more time with his family. He has stated publicly that if he does pitch in 2014, it will only be for the Pirates. But the veteran right-hander isn’t going to take a pay cut after a superb 2013.
MLB.com’s Tom Singer has an idea that might make everybody comfortable:
Burnett is torn between his real family and the Pirates family? Neither professional pride — nor, for that matter, the union — would let him take a pay slash?
Burnett could satisfy both of those conditions by making a midseason return, a la Roger Clemens a few years back. That would allow Burnett family time, and for the Bucs to shoehorn the prorated portion of an eight-figure salary into their budget. And, just in case a jolt is needed both in the clubhouse and at the gate, imagine the impact of a mid-June Burnett landing.
Clemens posted a 2.30 ERA (194 ERA+) in 19 starts with the Astros in 2006 after inking a one-year deal in late May and a 4.18 ERA (108 ERA+) in 18 appearances with the Yankees in 2007 after signing May 6.
Burnett had a 3.30 ERA (107 ERA+) and 209 strikeouts in 191 innings this past year for Pittsburgh.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was once again ejected from an NLCS game, this time in Game 4.
In the top of the eighth inning, closer Wade Davis found himself in a bit of a pickle. He gave up a leadoff home run to Justin Turner, cutting the Cubs’ lead to 3-2. Davis then walked Yasiel Puig. He was able to get Andre Ethier to pop up, bringing up Curtis Granderson. Granderson worked the count 2-2, then fouled off a pitch. And then he appeared to swing through a curve that bounced in the dirt. Catcher Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out, but Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, so it was a foul ball.
Wolf conferred with the other umpires. After a brief delay, the strikeout was overturned and Granderson was given new life in the batter’s box. Only… replays showed that Wolf got it right the first time.
Understandably, Maddon was livid. On the broadcast, one could see Maddon gesturing to the umpires to look at the replay on the video board behind the stands in left field. The argument fell on deaf ears and he was ejected. Thankfully for the Cubs, justice prevailed and Davis struck out Granderson on the next pitch.
It’ll be interesting to see if Maddon makes any political comparisons after the game. He likened the slide rule, the impetus behind his Game 1 ejection, to the soda tax.