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Jays land Burnett with five-year, $55M deal


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Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Jays land Burnett with five-year, $55M deal


By Jerry Crasnick



DALLAS -- A.J. Burnett agreed to a five-year, $55 million free-agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, a source told ESPN.com.


The deal will be announced at a Tuesday afternoon news conference in Dallas.



After courting A.J. Burnett for a month, the Blue Jays landed their man.


Burnett joins reliever B.J. Ryan as the second pitcher to sign a five-year deal with Toronto this offseason.


The Burnett deal is the longest contract for a free-agent starter since Chan Ho Park's five-year, $65 million contract with the Texas Rangers in December 2001.


"When you get involved with this, you know it's a long process," Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said after spending most of Monday negotiating with agents Darek Braunecker and Mark Rodgers.


"It's no slam dunk. Everybody wants things to happen fast. Sometimes it just doesn't go at the pace you want it to go at," Ricciardi said.


The deal means the Blue Jays have poured $102 million into two pitchers this offseason. On Nov. 28, B.J. Ryan finalized the largest contract for a relief pitcher in baseball history, a $47 million, five-year contract. Ryan, who pitched for Baltimore last season, is Toronto's new closer.


Burnett, 28, has been considered the top pitcher available on the free-agent market. He went 12-12 with a 3.44 ERA for Florida, although he struggled down the stretch and was banished from the team in the final week after criticizing manager Jack McKeon and his coaching staff.


Burnett missed almost all of the 2003 season following reconstructive elbow surgery, and his career record is a modest 49-50, all with the Marlins. But he's one of the few pitchers with a 98-mph fastball and a no-hitter on his r?sum?.


Burnett joins the Florida exodus as the franchise purges payroll, the result of the franchise abandoning its bid for a new ballpark near downtown Miami. Catcher Paul Lo Duca's trade to the Mets was finalized Monday; right-hander Josh Beckett and All-Star third baseman Mike Lowell were dealt to the Red Sox in a November trade involving minor leaguers; first baseman Carlos Delgado also was acquired by the Mets; and second baseman Luis Castillo was traded to the Twins in recent weeks.

Jerry Crasnick covers Major League Baseball for ESPN Insider. ESPN.com senior writer Jayson Stark contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Guest Moneyball

Thank god.. 11 mil a year for 5 years for 'potential'? Kinda glad we didnt get him actually..



That's what all teams on the losing end say.


-Steve Phillips yesterday

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i wish em the best luck and hope he does good....... even thou he ended his carrer bad with us..... he still gave me alot of good games and memories......


and the pie in the face is the best...... he's a cool dude and was my fav picther.. i kept tellen my friends


"yo, u think Willsor becket is our best pitcher." you havent seen aj burnett that was in 03 when he couldnt play....


oh well, ill still be cheering em on


Bj Ryan is still not worth that much

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When will free-agents learn that the most money isnt necessarily the best place to go? Surely being competitive for the next 4 years, building a good record with them for maybe payday no. 2 would make more sense in the long run, also playing for the club you supported as a kid has to mean something. I would have thought he may have spoken to his boy Pavano, and seen how miserable he was taking the money.

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