Thursday, October 30, 2008

Burnett Spurns The Yankees?

The World Series is over, and now the talk amongst fans, the media, and executives across the sport of baseball will be the discussion of free agency, trades, and what moves will be made.

After an 11th consecutive losing season, the Baltimore Orioles are looking forward to the future and there's talk in amidst the rebuilding that the organization is looking to spend some money. Now, that may involve bringing in some big ticket items -- one which obviously involves talks with Mark Teixiera -- but one other name thrown around has been A.J. Burnett, another Maryland native.

The Baltimore Examiner -- via a report in the New York Post -- noted that the right hander, who is expected to opt out of his contract with the Blue Jays, will probably not want to the join the Yankees.

And now word is spreading that A.J. Burnett will shy away from The Bronx, too.

If Sabathia and Burnett don't want the Yankees' money, the Yanks will be left to dance with Ben Sheets, Derek Lowe, Ryan Dempster and Oliver Perez.

Burnett's agent, Darek Braunecker, denied his client has ruled out the Yankees.

"That is 100-percent wrong," Braunecker said. "If he does indeed opt out of the deal [with Toronto] he will see if the Yankees are interested."

Burnett, who went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA and fanned 231 in 2211/3 innings for the Blue Jays this past season, can opt out of the final two years ($12 million each) of his contract following the World Series.

While the Blue Jays hope they can keep him - even after he files for free agency - it's likely that the career 87-76 right-hander lands in another uniform.

Texas and Washington expressed strong interest the last time he was a free agent with the Nationals, the only team to offer a fifth year. Tired of losing and watching the Rays join the Red Sox and Yankees as AL East powers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is talking about going after first baseman Mark Teixeira and Burnett. Each is from Maryland.

I'm going to take all this with a grain of salt. Although Burnett has shown some affinity to playing in Maryland and for the Orioles, the organization is going to have to make an offer -- one that would most likely pay at least eight digits a year.

If you compound that with his injury history, you've got a potential expensive powder keg on your hands. Assuming Burnett can stay healthy, he's one of the better pitchers in baseball and that could be a boon for the Orioles; however, at this point I'm not going to read too much into the news and it's buyer beware for me.


Pete said...

I have to agree with you, no matter which team gets him there's absolutely no guarantee that he'll be consistent. His track record is certainly not one of consistency, though his youth does have promise. It will be interesting to see how much sentimentality Teixeira and Burnett have for their hometown areas, but so often money does talk.

Matthew Taylor said...

I'm not a fan of signing Burnett for big bucks. His agent is always going to keep the Yankees in the mix - and deny media reports to the contrary - in order to drive up the asking price.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Matt: Exactly, Matt. I think the same three or four teams are in the running for him (maybe the Orioles, but I see him spurning us for a winner), and your theory makes sense.

Remember Carlos Lee and how he used the Orioles (I think two seasons ago) to get his deal?

Pete: I would sign Burnett, but the Orioles are nowhere near contending either next year or in the immediate future; thus, why take a risk on someone with his history?

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