TORONTO — Don’t get all riled up by the report on ESPN.com last night that said the Jays were willing to entertain trade proposals for Burnett. This was a non-news news item that, if you ask me, got a little blown out of proportion.
Let’s start by examing the quote that Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi gave:
"We like having A.J. here," Ricciardi told ESPN.com. "He gives us a good opportunity to win in 2008, and that’s our main objective right now.
"But we’re open-minded," he continued. "If someone blew us away, we’d be foolish not to listen. If someone came to us tomorrow and said, ‘We’ll give you this, this and this for him,’ we’d be foolish not to look at it."
Basically, Ricciardi said this: "We’re not looking to trade Burnett, but of course we’d listen if a team came to us with a ridiculous offer to acquire him." J.P. didn’t say the Jays were looking to trade him, and he didn’t say the Jays would trade him if a team came with a big offer. All he said was he’d listen. Of course he will, he’s a general manager.
Here’s a quote he had at the end of the season: "If we do anything on the trade market, I don’t see anything being major. It’d probably be more minor. We’d have to really get blown away to do something major. Everybody’s going to want our kids on the mound, but we really don’t want to give those guys up."
Is that really that much different that the breaking news quote ESPN ran last night? Nope.
It makes sense that speculation about Burnett’s situation came up, and I guess it was only a matter of time. But if the Blue Jays want to seriously make a run at the division title, Burnett is a part of that. Toronto isn’t going anywhere with Halladay and some kids behind him, especially when the team doesn’t have a ton of financial flexibility to add another arm this winter.
The Jays need a healthy A.J. to compete in the East. But, he’s due to make $12 million this year and in 2009 and ’10 if he doesn’t opt out of his contract after the ’08 season. Given that situation, of course the Jays would listen to offers. I think if the Jays are out of the race by the trade deadline, they’ll really listen to offers.
The Canadian Press got Ricciardi to clarify his comments: "We’re not shopping him. We don’t want to move Burnett, we want him to help us win next season. But if someone was to wow us with an offer, we’d have to listen."
And I don’t think a Miguel Tejada for Burnett offer will wow the Jays. Toronto has its solution for 2008 at short in John McDonald. Honestly, I think Tejada has a move to third base in his future, too. Now, if Toronto could toss Troy Glaus and his huge contract and steroid allegation issues in the package, maybe Ricciardi would really listen.
I’ve listened to many trade proposals in some fantasy leagues this year. But I haven’t pulled the trigger. Then again, given my place in the standings, maybe I should have.
Now watch, I’ve gone and said this is all a bunch of balogna and the Jays will deal Burnett before the season starts. Highly doubtful, though.