Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
After being traded from the New York Yankees to the Pirates in 2012, starting pitcher A.J. Burnett looked like a completely different pitcher.
Burnett pitched to an earned run average over 5.00 over his last two seasons in pinstripes.
In two seasons with the Pirates, Burnett pitched to a 3.41 ERA overall. Pitching in a rotation that already included Francisco Liriano and eventually Gerrit Cole, Burnett and the Pirates were untouchable at times in 2013.
So, why did they let him walk?
Burnett accepted a one-year offer from the Phillies worth $16 million during the offseason. So, it wasn't as if the 37-year-old was looking for a three-year deal that would have had Pittsburgh stuck with him when he turned 40.
Liriano has struggled mightily in 2014, going 0-3 with a 4.25 ERA in nine starts. On top of that, the Pirates have a very shaky starter in Rodriguez, who they couldn't have expected too much from entering the season.
So, how's Burnett doing with his new team? In nine starts, he is 2-3 with an impressive 3.13 ERA. That's not too shabby.
Had Pittsburgh brought Burnett back for another season, the Pirates could very well be sitting either at or above .500 right now. Instead, they are searching for answers out of the back end of their rotation.