The Pirates dislike the 2015 player option on A.J. Burnett's contract, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. The base salary of the option is just $7.5 million, which doesn't sound too bad, except that it increases depending on the number of starts Burnett makes down the stretch, up to $12.75 million for 32 starts.
Last offseason, a lot of us, including me, would have regarded a one-year 2014 Burnett deal for $12.75 million as a steal. But times change, and a year later, the idea of a player option at that cost doesn't look so hot, especially given that Burnett can just get out of it (and get paid a buyout!) if he pitches well down the stretch. The 2015 option shouldn't preclude the Pirates from trading for Burnett if they really want him, but it's an obstacle, especially with Burnett showing significant signs of decline at age 37.