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Pirates pitcher Burnett prepared to walk the plank

The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to pinch pennies despite reaching their highest level of success last season in more than two decades.

While the Bucs have several good younger players who make up the core of the team, it's tough to imagine the team being as competitive as it was late last year after the addition of Marlon Byrd and and Justin Morneau at the trade deadline.

But, despite the Pirates claims that they wanted to keep Byrd, both players walked away to accept free agent deals elsewhere. And now it seems like a third veteran will depart.

Pitcher AJ Burnett, a veteran who anchored the Pittsburgh rotation the past two years, said at the end of 2013 campaign that he was either going to retire or return to the Pirates for one more season.

Well... he decided not to hang up his spikes. But, even though money wasn't spent to retain Byrd, the Pirates apparently told Burnett's people that they couldn't afford to pay him more than $8.5 million on a one-year deal.

To put it in perspective, that's significantly less than Jake Westbrook money for a guy who is supposed to be the Buc's Adam Wainwright.

It appears Burnett could be headed back to the American League East. Apparently the Baltimore Orioles are in serious pursuit, according to the rumor mill.

It's good for the Cardinals to see the Pirates take a step back in the talent department. But it's a bummer for Pittsburgh fans who waited 20 years for a taste of success only to find it to be difficult to repeat the formula because of financial constraints.

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