Sons of Bill Simmons

Rumors involving Boston Sports, Celebrity Gossip, and Humor

A.J. Burnett

Posted by Mike on November 19, 2008


According to various media outlets, the Red Sox are going to be heavily involved in trying to acquire pitcher A.J. Burnett. The 32-year-old wants a deal in the five-year range around $15 Million per year. Burnett, has long been a favorite of Red Sox owner John Henry, but his nine times on the D.L. may in the end scare off the Sox. With the Red Sox and Yankees both bidding for the services of the right-hander its possible he could land a 5-year $80 Million dollar contact.

From NY Daily News:

According to an industry source, Boston plans to be a major player for A.J. Burnett, one of the pitchers the Yankees are targeting along with CC Sabathia to bolster their starting rotation. Derek Lowe, another arm coveted by the Bombers, is also on Boston’s radar.

The Red Sox are not planning to make an offer to Sabathia, who already has a six-year, $140million offer on the table from the Yankees. But Burnett, who turns 32 in January, will certainly receive serious attention from Boston, which has already engaged in discussions with the pitcher’s agent, Darek Braunecker, according to the source.

Even if it’s not $80 million, the Yankees will still make an offer at some point to Burnett, who reportedly has the Blue Jays’ four-year, $54 million deal on the table. Burnett opted out of the final two years and $24 million of his deal with Toronto, but Braunecker has said all along that the pitcher would be open to a return to the Blue Jays on a new pact.

The Blue Jays’ new offer has an annual average of $13.5 million per season, so the Yankees or Red Sox would likely have to trump that – perhaps in the $15 million range – to pry him away. Offering him a fifth guaranteed year might get a deal done, but that would be a risky move with a pitcher who has been on the disabled list nine times since 2000, making a four-year, $60 million offer more realistic.

Burnett had a solid season in 2008, going 18-10 with a 4.07ERA while pitching 221-1/3 innings for the Blue Jays. That the Yankees and Red Sox are both interested is hardly a surprise, especially when it is considered how well he pitched against both Boston (2-0, 2.60 ERA in four starts) and the Yankees (3-1, 1.64 in five starts).

From Ken Rosenthal:

In early September, a rival executive told me that the Red Sox were planning a major push for right-hander A.J. Burnett if he became a free agent.


The Red Sox indeed are interested in Burnett, according to major-league sources.

Burnett turns 32 on Jan. 3. The Yankees intend to offer him a four-year deal, according to one source, not the five-year, $80-million proposal that was reported as a possibility on Tuesday.

The Sox, in theory, could sign Burnett for a shorter term with a high average salary. But if Burnett wanted that type of deal, he probably could stay in Toronto.

Well, the Blue Jays have yet to even make Burnett an offer — sources on both sides say that reports of a four-year, $54 million proposal to the pitcher are inaccurate.

So, would the Red Sox go to four years on Burnett, given his well-documented history of injury and inconsistency?

Seems doubtful, but owner John Henry is a fan of Burnett’s, going back to their days together with the Marlins.


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