Sons of Bill Simmons

Rumors involving Boston Sports, Celebrity Gossip, and Humor

A.J. Burnett

Posted by Mike on November 3, 2008

From Ken Rosenthal:

Of course, A.J. Burnett will exercise the opt-out clause in his contract; we’ve known that for months. The formal announcement is expected Monday after a face-to-face meeting between Burnett’s agent, Darek Braunecker, and Blue Jays officials. After that, Braunecker can begin to talk to other clubs.

Burnett would prefer to land close to his home in Maryland, and he figures to have plenty of options, including the Red Sox and Yankees.

The Orioles and Nationals hold a geographic advantage, but that’s about it.

The only way either of those clubs could entice Burnett is by making him an outrageous offer. The Nationals are not going to do that as long as Stan Kasten remains club president, and Orioles owner Peter Angelos has shown little tolerance for risk.

Burnett, who turns 32 on Jan. 3, is no guarantee to stay healthy or pitch to his ability. Staying in Toronto might be best for him — he has strong relationships with Brad Arnsberg, the Jays’ pitching coach, and Roy Halladay, the staff ace. It might take Burnett a full season to get comfortable elsewhere, but his transition would be eased if he joined a team with a top pitching coach — say, the Red Sox.

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