So It Begins

The Red Sox and Yankees find themselves apparently locked in battle for the services of … A.J. Burnett?

The Yankees still are preparing a formal offer for righthanded pitcher A.J. Burnett, a club official said yesterday, but the Red Sox have become serious competitors to land him.

The Red Sox's pursuit of Burnett complicates the Yankees' plans. A source close to Burnett said that a half-dozen teams are in contention for his services: the Yankees, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Braves, Phillies and Orioles. The Red Sox, the source said, have significantly increased their involvement in the pitcher in the past 36 hours and are now "fully engaged."

Update: Confirmation from the 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, $140 million 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.


14 comments… add one
  • Nooooooooooooo!
    Except to drive the price up on Burnett for the Yankees, I hate, hate, hate this possibility.
    Why? Let’s see: former Marlin hurler, mediocre and injury-prone for most of his contract but then pitches a good flight year.
    I got two words for you. Carl. Pavano. (Although Darren Dreifort almost fits the bill too.)

    Hit Dog November 19, 2008, 9:08 am
  • Yay, the unprovable and untrustable rumor mill begins again in earnest.
    So what is true? Nothing and everything.

    SF November 19, 2008, 9:12 am
  • I agree almost exactly with Hit Dog. I’ve had Burnett in my dynasty league for the last few years, and while the ceiling is definitely higher, it’s not worth 5 years. Though it’s hard to beat Pavano’s time on the DL though.
    Haha, though as a YF, seems like you can’t win either way, because if he goes to the Sox, chances are he’s going to still dominate the Yanks..

    Lar November 19, 2008, 9:25 am
  • I would only like this signing if it’s for no more than $15 million per year for no more than four years, and even then, I would only like this signign because Burnett wouldn’t be counted on for anything more than fourth-starter production. And even then I still wouldn’t feel good about it.
    Either this is a push-up-the-price move, or it gives credence to the Wakefield retirement rumor. Why else would the Sox feel a need to push for oft-injured, oft-underperforming Burnett so hard?

    Paul SF November 19, 2008, 9:41 am
    I say absolutely. I think he will turn it around on a winning team. Plus, I know if he goes to NY, he definitely will. :)

    Brad November 19, 2008, 9:48 am
  • According to Brian McRae reporting for Sports Radio 810 in Kansas City, the Royals acquired Coco Crisp from the Red Sox for reliever Ramon Ramirez. I emailed McRae to confirm, and he said, “It’s a done deal.”

    Sam-YF November 19, 2008, 9:54 am
  • That was a quote…i didnt personally email Brian McRae!

    Sam-YF November 19, 2008, 10:01 am
  • I think in my old age I have come to not care nearly as much about the dollars and duration of contracts that the Sox dole out. I don’t know how I, as a fan, can make an informed judgment about whether 4/55 or 5/70 is the “right” number for Burnett in this market.
    If a Sabathia can fetch 7/140 and a Burnett is 5/70, is that too much for Burnett? Will he provide half the performance over the duration of the contract? I just don’t know the Sox’ books and the insurability of contracts etc. to make a reasoned and economically informed criticism of specific offers, I think the best way to look at these things is to think about relative performance and the impact of future signability of currently employed and desirable players, and even that is hard to do as the markets change rather quickly.

    SF November 19, 2008, 10:09 am
  • I just don’t want to see the Sox saddled with a 36- or 37-year-old Burnett in 2013 is all. Like you, I rationally don’t care as much about the money, but emotionally I guess I still blanche a bit on spending loads of money for flawed talent.

    Paul SF November 19, 2008, 10:16 am
  • Ya, I’ve been jaded about salary as well, but there’s some thing to be said about efficiency, I guess. Still, it seems like 5 years seems like an awfully long time nowadays for someone relatively unproven.. we just got out of Pavano.. and Giambi, even though he had a few good years..

    Lar November 19, 2008, 11:04 am
  • More from ESPN today:
    “Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein spoke with A.J. Burnett’s agent by phone Tuesday to express the team’s interest in the free-agent right-hander, a baseball source said. …
    “The possibility exists that Boston is now getting involved as a ploy to drive up the price on Burnett for his other suitors — which include three American League East rivals. But Newsday reported Tuesday that the Red Sox are now ‘fully engaged,’ and a source told that the team considers Burnett a ‘priority.’
    “‘They’ve got a lot of balls in the air,’ the source said of the Red Sox, ‘but they’re involved now.'”

    Paul SF November 19, 2008, 4:36 pm
  • Ok so this might be crazy, but you can have him ONLY if it means we can get Lowe. Boras is a genius, but he is not dumb enough to think any team is going to sign Lowe to a “Zito like contract.” So that being said I would much rather Lowe at 3 years, than Burnett at 5. I know 32 + 5 is 37 and I know 35 + 3 is 38, but still…I know who has a higher ceiling, I know who is more talented, but at this stage of the game I want durability. I am sick of watching Aaron Small, Dan Giese, etc…get 10-15 starts a season.

    John - YF November 19, 2008, 4:43 pm
  • I don’t know how other Sox fans feel about Lowe… BUT, if the Yankees want him and get him, I say hurray!
    Derek Lowe has always had a HUGE upside… when his head is screwed on right.
    Like when he had 42 saves and an ERA of 2.56 for the Sox in 2000, OR like when the Sox first made him a starter and he went 21-8 with an ERA of 2.58 OR like when he won every clinching game of the 04 postseason for the Sox.
    On the other hand there is Derek the HUGE head-case who, the year after throwing for 42 saves, managed to go 5-10 with 24 saves and an ERA almost a full run higher.
    OR the Derek Lowe that went from 21-8 2.58 with Cy Young considerations to a middling 17-7 4.47 an ERA almost two full runs higher, to an underwhelming 14-12 and a horrific 5.42 ERA in his last year with the Sox.
    It may be that laid back LA settled Lowe down and kept him on a fairly even keel (although an ERA in the mid 3’s during his Dodgers stay isn’t exactly world beating in the wimpy NL), BUT I’d be willing to bet Lowe as a Yankee back in the shark infested AL East, AND in the cauldron that is New York, would be a melt down on the order of another Chernobyl.

    Brian Houk SF November 19, 2008, 8:50 pm
  • The possibility exists that Boston is now getting involved as a ploy to drive up the price on Burnett for his other suitors
    When you have nothing insightful to write, write this. Honestly, can the Sox pursue ANYONE without a sportswriter resorting to this? Santana pursuit: just to drive up the price. Dice-K bid: just to drive up the price. Blah blah blah.

    SF November 19, 2008, 10:04 pm

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