I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I talked myself into it. Saying all the right things and riding a feelgood wave of support as the season ended, AJ Burnett had me believing that he wasn't ready to end his budding bromance and say goodbye to our Toronto Blue Jays.
But now the love-in is over, and safely away from Doc's powers and the hometown crowd, we're seeing the true intentions of Huggy Bear, and it probably doesn't involve a future in Toronto.
Darek Braunecker, AJ's true BFF, informs us that with regards to discussing an extension with the Jays, "he isn't going to waste their time with that" until AJ decides if he is going to exercise the opt-out (100% probability) or not (0% probability).
So, in other words, get in line JP. Yeah - that line right there. That's right, that one - Brian Cashman's there in front, and Theo's saving a spot (he'll be there when the playoffs are over) - no cutting.
Well, maybe we still have a shot, you say? Didn't JP prep an opening offer of a 2 year-$30M extension? Consider these quotes from Ricciardi:
"Our money's not going to change," he said. "We're only going to have so much money that we feel that we can go forward with. If it's not enough, it's not enough."
- and -
"If it gets to a point where he opts out, we're still in the running but I think at that point we're going to have to start going forward with putting our team together," said Ricciardi. "We can't sit there and just wait and say, 'Hey, we're waiting on one guy.' We'd probably have to have a little more of a definitive answer at that point."
JP's propensity for "truth"-telling notwithstanding, I believe him when he says the Jays only shot to retain Burnett is by locking him up before he exercises the opt-out, and if (when) he does exercise the clause, Toronto won't be joining the bidding war. In other words...if AJ exercises the opt-out (he will), it's o-v-e-r. That's not to say I blame the guy, though. Let's face it, the Jays reported offer would give Burnett 4 years and $54 million, whereas exercising the opt-out will probably net him a $75 million deal. Like you'd do any different?
By the same token, I think JP's playing this one the way it needs to be played also. An additional 2 years - $30M is at least a reasonable offer - at the very least, a save-face offer - and I can probably think of a better way to spend the $75M or so it'll take. I mean, for a measly $25M more, we could have Manny! (That's right, I'm talking myself into that one too - gotta love the offseason...)
The Tao has extended my term through the offseason (tough break for you, suckers), so I'll probably be around with a post per weekend, probably more as the winter meetings approach and the rumour mill heats up. I know, I know - you'll sleep easier now. I do what I can.