Earlier Thursday morning, Pirates' pitching coach Ray Searage appeared on The Fan 93.7 Morning Show and said he is moving forward with the expectation that Burnett will retire.
"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."
Fans and executives alike have been waiting for Burnett to make his decision, which he had previously said was either play for the Pirates or retire, since the St. Louis Cardinals eliminated the Bucs in the NLDS. The Orioles were presumed to have interest as well, as Burnett lives in the Baltimore area during the offseason.
If he were to retire, his final game in Pittsburgh, and in the MLB, would have been the disaster against the Cardinals to start the NLDS where he gave up seven earned runs in two innings. Much commotion was made about Hurdle's choice to start Gerrit Cole over Burnett in the deciding fifth game, and Hurdle had already made plans for Francisco Liriano to start the first game of the NLCS had the Pirates defeated the Cardinals.
If Searage is correct in his hunch and Burnett is retiring, he will have ended his Pirates career with a record of 26-21, a 3.41 ERA and 389 strikeouts in 393.1 innings pitched. Burnett finished fifth in the NL in strikeouts this past season with 209 in addition to joining the 2,000 strikeout club. Currently, Burnett is third among active pitchers in strikeouts. His career line is 147-132 with a 3.99 ERA and 2,180 strikeouts.
Originally drafted by the New York Mets, Burnett spent time in the majors with the Florida Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. He threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in 2001 as a member of the Marlins, striking out seven and walking nine. Over the course of his career, Burnett earned more than $120 million.
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