Pirates president Frank Coonelly provided Crasnick with the nugget of information;
"We'd love to have A.J. back, but right now we've turned the page and we're heading to Bradenton (Fla.) thinking he's not going to be with us, but if he surprises us and calls up tomorrow and says he wants to pitch again, we'd love to have him.''
And while it is sounding more and more definitive that Burnett will not be back on the Pirates for the 2014 season, there is not any new information to report, as it has been since last March when Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune-Review reported Burnett was considering both retirement or another season with the Bucs.
When athletes choose to retire after they've fallen off, people question why they didn't get out sooner. When athletes leave after a thoroughly successful season, people question their sanity.
It's quite simple for Burnett. He's done all he can as a Major League Pitcher. He started his career with the Florida Marlins and promptly tossed a wild no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in 2001. He then was a part of the Marlins 2003 championship team, although he was injured. He would later move on to Toronto, where he led the AL in strikeouts during the 2008 season before signing a monster five-year 82.5 million deal with the New York Yankees. In his first season in the Bronx, Burnett won the World Series. While the rest of his time in New York was unsuccessful, he managed to revive his career with the Pirates for the past two seasons, notching his 2,000th career strikeout while lowering his career ERA to 3.99. Oh, and he led the NL in strikeouts per-nine innings (9.8) during the 2013 campaign.
He's also made over $120 million in his career. The Burnett estate is well in order.
A quick peak at A.J.'s twitter bio shows where he is focused.
"Nothing better than riding Can Ams, bass fishing, killing zombies, and most importantly spending time with my family!"-@wudeydo34
Burnett has always wanted to be able to spend more time with his family. As many recall, Burnett had the Pirates on the list of teams he would be fine joining in a trade prior to the 2012 campaign. It wasn't because he was confident the Bucs would be winning the World Series, it was because Pittsburgh was in close proximity to his offseason home in Maryland and it would be easier to see his family more frequently.
Notice something that isn't in that bio? Baseball. Burnett's ready for the next chapter of his life. He might not be a huge fan of his last memories with the Pirates, when he was rocked in Game 2 of the NLDS and was subsequently passed over for the start in Game 5, but it doesn't seem like it was enough to change his mind.
Burnett has had a tremendous career and was one of the most entertaining pitchers the Pirates have had in recent memory, both on and off the mound. If he wants to ride off into the sunset on his ATV spending his time bass fishing and killing thousands of zombies, more power to him. He's got a reason more powerful than the 120 million-plus that fans already know about. His family.
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