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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Blue Jays - Signed Burnett
Toronto Blue Jays - Reportedly have agreed to a 5-year, $55 million contract with P A.J. Burnett.
The Jays wanted to use their increased budget to become players in the free agent market and that they’ve done. With Ryan and now Burnett in the bag and serious offers to Brian Giles, the Jays are on the radar again for big moves. It certainly wasn’t cheap, however, as $11 million a year for 5 years is a lot of money.
Burnett probably has more upside than any other pitcher available this winter, so the signing recommends itself in that respect. Kevin Millwood’s probably a “safer” choice, but I think a possible Burnett failure would more likely be due to an insurance-friendly arm injury rather than just ineffectiveness. Assuming that this contract is well insured, of course; it’s been harder to insure pitchers with big deals in recent years. If the Jays can get a healthy Halladay-Burnett 1-2 punch most of the time, they’ll be in the divisional race. The Jays now can comfortably put Chacin in the 3rd slot and sort out the Lilly/Batista/Towers/Bush group for the last two.
It would still be nice if they got a bat; Koskie should have a better year, but they really could use a little more offense to compete with the Yanks and Red Sox. There aren’t a whole lot of appealing options on the market, but landing Abreu could very well make the Jays the favorites in the AL East, pending what moves New York and Boston make in the next month.
Now, people may say that the B.J. Ryan signing wouldn’t create any positive buzz and increase the team’s perceived quality. Signing the top pitcher available in the market should, though. There’s no doubt a sizable risk involved, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
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