The preparing pitch to keep Burnett
BALTIMORE — A source with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed on Saturday that the Blue Jays are preparing to offer pitcher A.J. Burnett two additional years at around $30 million on top of his current contract, which expires after 2010.
“I don’t think a number has been put down yet,” the source said. “That’s probably as good a guess as anything, though. But, terms haven’t really been discussed.”
Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi has repeatedly noted that he hasn’t been in contact with Burnett’s representative, but the pitcher said Saturday that his agent, Darek Braunecker, met with Ricciardi recently in Toronto.
Upon hearing that, Ricciardi altered his story.
“We talked, but it wasn’t about money or anything like that,” he said.
If the contract extension being offered is indeed four-years, $54 million through 2012, including the $24 million Burnett is owed over the next two seasons under his current deal, it will fall short of what the right-hander could command on the open market.
Another source indicated that Burnett could potentially fetch between $15-20 million annually over a long-term deal as a free agent. Burnett said he still hasn’t decided whether or not he’s going to opt out of his contract to test his value.
“I haven’t decided that. I don’t know,” Burnett said. “It depends on what these guys offer and on what me and my family think and then we’ll make that decision after that. But I’m not 100 percent going to opt out.”
Toronto’s best shot at signing Burnett is in October, before other teams can start talking to him.
“That’s the only way,” a source said. “If he declares the opt out, chances decrease tremendously.”
TORONTO (85-75) at BALTIMORE (67-92)
at 7:05 p.m. ET at Camden Yards
MaJoe Inglett, 2B
Jose Bautista, 3B
Adam Lind, DH
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Brad Wilkerson, CF
Kevin Mench, LF
Travis Snider, RF
Gregg Zaun, C
John McDonald, SS
PITCHING: LHP John Parrish (1-0, 4.10)
Jay Payton, RF
Luis Montanez, LF
Melvin Mora, DH
Oscar Salazar, 3B
Adam Jones, CF
Ramon Hernandez, C
Kevin Millar, 1B
Alex Cintron, SS
Brandon Fahey, 2B
PITCHING: RHP Brian Bass (3-4, 5.08)