Pirates don't extend qualifying offer to A.J. Burnett

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: The Pirates confirm that they have not extended Burnett a qualifying offer. Also, Rob Biertempfel quotes Neal Huntington saying that cost was, in fact, an issue:

"$14.1M is significant chunk of our estimated budget."

So it looks like Jon Heyman, below, was right. Or else the Pirates are just saying that because they believe they can get Burnett for cheaper.

*     *     *

Jon Heyman writes that the Pirates won't extend qualifying offers to A.J. Burnett or Justin Morneau.

That Morneau wouldn't get one is no surprise whatsoever, since he wasn't eligible for one, as Heyman noted in a later tweet. (Morneau and Marlon Byrd haven't been with the Pirates long enough to be eligible, since they were acquired in midseason trades.) Also, Morneau isn't worth anywhere near the $14.1 million qualifying offer price, and wouldn't be a candidate for a qualifying offer even if he hadn't been traded.

If Burnett doesn't get one, that's no surprise. I think the Pirates will end up signing Burnett for somewhere near $14.1 million, but that doesn't mean they have to extend a qualifying offer to do it. A qualifying offer, which would require other teams to forfeit a draft pick to sign Burnett, doesn't really serve any purpose other than making it more difficult for Burnett to sign elsewhere. If the Pirates are taking Burnett at his word that he doesn't want to sign with other teams anyway, there isn't much point in extending the qualifying offer, and it might even annoy Burnett if they did so. I hope Burnett's situation will be resolved soon, so the Bucs can get on with their offseason, but this shouldn't have much of an effect one way or another. It doesn't have much to do with the $14.1 million price being too hefty for the Pirates' market, as Heyman implies.

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