At the trade deadline, A.J. Burnett's player option may have kept him from joining another team. With a potentially expensive deal being locked in, cash-strapped teams feared Burnett would stick around. After tonight's loss to the Seattle Mariners, Burnett may have been speaking from the standpoint of a dejected, hernia-ridden player, but Burnett expressed to reporters that he likely would not play after this season.
Burnett told reporters, including Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:
A.J. Burnett said, "Probably not," when asked if he plans to pitch next year. Player option jumped to $11.75 million tonight with 27th start— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) August 20, 2014
Zolecki notes that Burnett is 0-6 with a 6.41 ERA since the All-Star break. Of course, had Burnett not come out for the eighth inning tonight and left after seven innings and three runs, he could be looking and feeling a lot better.
Burnett is also due $7.5 million from his 2014 salary in three installments beginning December 1. Burnett may just wish to call it a day and sit home and collect those checks next season. It is not an additional $11.75 million (soon to be $12.75 million after five more starts), but it might be reason enough for Burnett to take it easy and retire, and avoid playing with a hernia.