Silence is golden.
The most incredible part of the A.J. Burnett offseason saga, at least to me, is how he could be so silent for so long. In this age of Twitter and Instagram, Burnett’s ability to avoid the media and keep his intentions to himself was remarkable. Well played.
He also showed veteran savvy by keeping bidders on the sidelines until the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes played out.
There’s only so much to be said about most perceived leaders in baseball. Burnett had a chance to add $12 million to his $120 million career earnings to stay in Pittsburgh but decided to go with the Phillies and their $16 million offer. Burnett should thank the Bucs a hundred times over because there’s no way another team gives him that much money if it had to give up a No. 1 pick for his services.
Pirates catcher Russell Martin chose his words carefully when he spoke of Burnett’s departure. After all, Martin will be in the same unrestricted free agency boat following the 2014 campaign.
Of course, Burnett will be closer to his home now. As Peter Gammons said on the MLB Network on Friday morning, he’s got his ride from the park to his house tabbed at 107 minutes. That’s kind of cool.
Jim Fregosi died of multiple strokes Friday. Growing up in Pittsburgh, I knew of the former baseball player and manager as a first baseman/pinch hitter in his later years with the Bucs (1977, 1978). As a big baseball card coIlector, I sorted many a Fregosi Topps card, which made it even more interesting when I ran into Mr. Fregosi at PNC Park last summer. He seemed genuinely touched that I remembered his career in Pittsburgh.
That’s a common reaction to former players and coaches I come in contact with at the park. It’s easy to put these guys on a platform, but they’re just regular folk like you and me (as cliché as that sounds).
It makes a lot of sense that the Pirates will end up with either Justin Smoak or Mitch Moreland at first base, depending upon where free agent outfielder, Nelson Cruz, signs. Cruz, who played for Texas last year, could lessen the Rangers’ need for Moreland by re-signing with the team.
Or, Cruz could go with Seattle. Mariners outfielder, Franklin Gutierrez, announced he would miss all of 2014 with a gastro illness Thursday. That opens a spot for Cruz in Seattle. The Mariners have Corey Hart at first base. Add Logan Morrison to the mix and promising power-hitting prospect, Ji-Man Choi, in the minors and it’s easy to see Smoak with Pittsburgh.
It’s amazing how many articles about A.J. Burnett signing with the Philadelphia Phillies — such as Jeff Sullivan’s A.J. Burnett finds a new, mediocre home — slip into trade deadline scenario’s with the 37-year-old getting traded to another team.