"I put more pressure on myself than anyone else does," Burnett said. "It was fun the first couple years. Then it got more like, 'Am I ever going to get out of this funk?' Now I've got a chance to -- open arms right now."
The Pirates will pay $13 million of Burnett's salary the next two years. New York will be on the hook for the rest, approximately $20 million.
Burnett hopes he can return to the form he had in Toronto, which earned him the large contract in the first place.
"I let a few too many people tinker with me, maybe," Burnett said. "When you let that happen, you start doubting yourself sometimes. You wonder, 'Am I doing it right? Is this how it's supposed to feel?' and things like that. In '09, nobody messed with me. I was able to do what I wanted to do on the mound, whether it was turn around, close my eyes and pitch upside down. Then you have a few bad games and you start changing and listening."