Ray Searage knows as much about AJ Burnett’s future as you and I do

This is a day late and I have a little bit more planned for next week along these lines, but Ray Searage told 93.7 yesterday that while he's not completely certain of AJ Burnett's status for 2014, he's preparing for the season as if he's not going to have Burnett available to him. This is what he has to do as the pitching coach, of course, but it seems awfully unlikely to me at this point that Burnett will wear a Pirate uniform next year and so I want to use Searage's statement emphasize a point that I made in Wednesday's longer post. 

These are the 2013 Pirate starters, listed by number of starts made:

  • AJ Burnett – 30
  • Jeff Locke – 30
  • Francisco Liriano – 26
  • Charlie Morton – 20
  • Gerrit Cole – 19
  • Wandy Rodriguez – 12
  • Jeanmar Gomez – 8
  • James McDonald – 6
  • Brandon Cumpton – 5
  • Jonathan Sanchez – 4
  • Kris Johnson – 1
  • Phil Irwin – 1

Burnett, Liriano, Morton, Cole, and Rodriguez made 107 starts between them last year. When you mix in the 20ish solid starts from Jeff Locke, you've basically used six guys to create the equivalent of really solid top four rotation spots. Now try and reconstruct this list for a similarly successful 2014 team without Burnett's 30 starts. Who helps bridge the gap that would be created by Burnett's absence and Locke's second half collapse? Locke himself? Edinson Volquez? Stolmy Pimentel? It's not impossible to do, of course, but it's not exactly a slam dunk, either.

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.