Burnett to opt out

Blue Jays pitcher A.J. Burnett is going to be a free agent. On Tuesday, Darek Braunecker, Burnett’s agent confirmed that Burnett will opt out of his current contract. Braunecker met with the Blue Jays at the GM Meetings in Dana Point, Calif., on Tuesday to inform the club of the pitcher’s decision.

Burnett immediately becomes arguable the top available arm behind free-agent C.C. Sabathia. Last season, Burnett set career highs with 18 wins, 34 starts, 221 1/3 innings and an American League-high 231 strikeouts. By opting out, Burnett leaves the $24 million he was owed over the next two years on the table.

Maybe the biggest part of Burnett’s 2008 season was his absence from the disabled list. Only twice in Burnett’s 10 seasons has he avoided the DL — thanks to numerous arm injuries — and both happened to be contract seasons. His only other injury-free campaign was in 2005, when he won 12 games for the Marlins and then signed a five-year, $55 million deal with Toronto.

So Burnett comes with some risk, even with the sound season he just logged. Braunecker offered a no comment when asked if the Jays had already tabled a new offer to retain the pitcher.

It’s likely that Burnett waits to see what free-agent pitchers like Derek Lowe and Ryan Dempster can get on the open market, considering Burnett could make a case to earn more. The Yankees, Red Sox and Orioles are all rumored to have interest in Burnett, who makes his offseason home outside of Baltimore.



  1. garryguy@sasktel.net

    So long Burnett,thanks for one year out of three at a cost of 33mm.
    Now for a big bat,Manny comes to mind,but can JP swing the deal to get him here,I have my doubts.
    I don’t think Toronto needs Starters,they have some young arms that I think can and will step up.

  2. dmburkey@hotmail.com

    I think with this whole Burnett situation seemingly now to a close the Jays should give a look to maybe a guy like Ryan Dempster. He seems to have come into his own the last couple of years with the Cubs, and plus he’s Canadian. That could maybe bring some more fans to the ballpark. He would be coming from the National league, but so did Burnett, and I think a guy who has not been injury prone, lets hope. He also has some playoff experience to go on something a lot of jays players don’t have, and I do believe he was with Armsberg in Florida at the same time, maybe that could work in our favor.

    Other than that maybe Sheets but his list of past injuries worries me, maybe another Burnett again. I ‘m not sold on Derek Lowe either, he seems to me to be a little overrated and not worth the money he would demand, a bad investment.

  3. andrewkidware@hotmail.com

    Burnett is overrated. If he can get $15-18M from another team, he should take the money and and run… all the way to the bank… and then the DL. Did no one learn their lesson with Carl Pavano???

  4. welikeroywelikeroy

    I would have thought that too garry until Marcum went down. Now things don’t look so good with the rotation. A lot of questions, but baseball can sometimes be a funny game.

    Back to Burnett, I wish I could say ‘no’ to 24 million over 2 years.

    I did drop a nacho on the floor the other day, 5 seconds wasn’t up, but I still said: ‘No. I’m opting out of this nacho for more nachos in the future.’ So, I kind of know how he feels not in the slightest.

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