For one year and $16 million. This is a profoundly depressing outcome for everyone involved -- for Burnett, because he'll spend the baseball equivalent of his golden years playing for a non-contender instead of the contending team he said he loved; for the Pirates, because they apparently weren't willing to spend a very reasonable amount to retain a player who could obviously help them on a one-year contract, and didn't even get an extra draft pick out of the deal; and for the Phillies, because, while they may now have A.J. Burnett, they'll have to wake up in the morning still being the Phillies.
We may not ever learn what exactly went on between the Pirates and Burnett. But if the issue was that he wanted a halfway-reasonable salary and the Pirates weren't willing to pay it, I can't blame him much. At his age, there's plenty of collapse risk, but he was one of the best pitchers in the National League this year, and he's easily worth $16 million on a one-year deal.
What else can one say? We've been writing about Burnett all winter. Maybe he'll fall apart and make the Pirates' front office look smart for passing on him, but it would have been nice if they'd gotten some equivalent talent somehow. Instead, there isn't even reason to think they were ever serious bidders for one.