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Pirates sign A.J. Burnett to one-year, $8.5 million deal

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The right-hander returns to Pittsburgh after a year with the Phillies.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have signed right-hander A.J. Burnett to a one-year contract, according to a team announcement. Burnett will earn $8.5 million in 2015, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

Burnett, who turns 38 in January, returns to Pittsburgh after declining his $12.75 million team option with the Phillies earlier this month. The veteran was said to have loved his two years in Pittsburgh in 2012 and 2013, making it no surprise that he was willing to sign with the Pirates for $4.25 million less than he would have earned with Philadelphia.

In his only season with the Phillies, Burnett was 8-18 with a 4.59 ERA in 34 starts after signing with them on a one-year, $16 million deal last winter. At the outset of last offseason it was believed that Burnett would either retire or re-sign with the Pirates, but interest from the Orioles and Phillies drove up his asking price and caused the Pirates to fall out of the market for him. Trade rumors swirled over the summer about a deal that could have sent Burnett back to Pittsburgh, so his signing with the club today is not a shock.

For the Pirates, Burnett is a known commodity who will take one rotation spot following the departures of starters Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez to free agency. Burnett posted a 26-21 record and 3.41 ERA in his two seasons with the Pirates.