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Add the Blue Jays to the list of teams interested in A.J. Burnett

Jan 31, 2014, 10:35 PM EDT

a.j. burnett getty Getty Images

A.J. Burnett recently announced that he will pitch for at least one more season before hanging up the spikes. That drew the attention of several teams instantaneously. The Pirates, of course, who had been waiting all off-season for Burnett to make a decision. The Orioles, in need of an upgrade in the rotation. The Phillies, who don’t have much beyond Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee.

According to TSN, you can add the Blue Jays into the mix as well.

Reports surfacing Wednesday in The Globe and Mail and Thursday in the Toronto Star suggest that the Jays could be considering a run at free agent starter A.J. Burnett, now that he’s believed to be available.

If the Jays can’t land Burnett, who has said he would prefer to stay close to his home in Maryland, they could still go after Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez or Bronson Arroyo, three starters still available on the free agent market. Santana and Jimenez, though, are tied to draft pick compensation which make them less attractive.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jan 31, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    This is not new news.

    • cur1968 - Feb 1, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      No, it isn’t. I have to think Burnett’s thord in line behind Jiminez & Santana with Arroyo fourth. Trouble with Burnett is that, like Arroyo, he’s pretty much done. His FB is unlikely to be much more than 92mph, his change is not different enough to fool anyone consistently, and he hasn’t thrown a slider in years. Too many good hitters in too many small parks in the AL Beast. I can’t see Anthopolous bringing him back. Its going to be Jiminez or Santana or they stand pat. Frankly, The Beaver Wrestlers have some arms coming back and coming up. They could be ok.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 1, 2014 at 9:51 AM

        The Jays have not signed any free agent pitchers because the asking price was much too high. I agree that they have sufficient depth to begin the season, but having a veteran as a stop gap solution is OK to me. By the summer, at least 1 of the young pitching prospects should be ready for the majors.

      • cur1968 - Feb 1, 2014 at 9:57 AM

        I know Nolin wants another shot and he really turned it on when he got sent back down. He could be ok. Sanchez looks real good, too (some control would be nice, but he’s got a good arm), but the guy I’m waiting for is Stroman. Lights out, laser beam fastball, ++slider and a wicked change up. Our Boys might not need a “Veteran Presence”.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 1, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        Both Stroman and Nolin probably need some Triple A experience. They are expected to be ML ready by the summer. Sanchez is expected to be ML ready in 2015.

      • masher1965 - Feb 1, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        It isn’t always what you have , as a pitcher, it is how you use it. Greg Maddox is the perfect example. You are most likely right about Burnett , but a smart pitcher uses location and change of speed to get batters out at the major league level .

      • paperlions - Feb 1, 2014 at 10:26 AM

        Sorry Cur, but their projected rotation to start the year is horrible. If they are going to wait until Stroman and Nolin are ready, they’ll probably be in too big a hole for the call ups to matter….and expecting those guys to immediately be successful when pitching so many games in hitter friendly parks isn’t particularly realistic either.

      • cur1968 - Feb 1, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        Burnett’s Change is 87. His FB is low 90’s. That’s not enough difference to matter. He’ll get murdered in the tiny AL Beast parks.

        Buying a rotation isn’t possible. If you ask me, Jiminez and Santana are dangerous beasts: they were good last season, Jimiez basically for only half of it, so what’s the point? They could easily regress back to who they were prior to 2013. No thanks.

        The young arms have been steadily improving, Sanchez and Nolin in particular. The press on Stroman is very good. He’s developed an outstanding changeup to go with mid-90’s FB. Drabek’s coming back as is Hutchison. Pain free, they might be good for 5 or 6 innings of work. Given how strong that bullpen is, I like their chances. Romero’s got as much chance as Scott Kazmir, so there’s that, too. Mike Redmond, Esmil Rogers, and at least one BP arm have SP experience, so there are options there.

        Improved catcher defence should keep some of those infield errors down. The lack of Bonifacio booting balls all over the IF will help, too. Bautista’s another season away from his wrist surgery, E5 hits a ton, Navarro hits much better than Arencibia, Lawrie and Colby Rasmus were both looking much better towards the last third of the season, so there is every expectation of very good offence.

        I have hope. Which, frankly, is what every long suffering fan needs going into a new season after a total bust in a previous season. Otherwise, what’s the point?

        Anyhow, if AA doesn’t sign anyone, I won’t be upset. My Boys have a lot of options going forward.

      • blitzburg10 - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:38 PM

        Obviously you have not seen Burnett pitch must the last 2 years in Pittsburgh..Coming from a Pirate fan who has seen almost every outing he has had the last 2 years..he is probably sharper than he has ever been..He has worked with Ray Searage and has reinvented himself with a 2 seamer that has him leading the league in ground ball outs….has a nasty breakin ball that is his strikeout pitch..which also led the league in K’s per 9 innings..and still hits 94 -95 consistently..He’s got 2 good years left,and whoever gets him bill likely get a bargain..

      • cur1968 - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        In a big park with a slick infield behind him, sure. In the AL Beast, with small parks and a suspect group of infielders? Nah. He should stay in PNC.

  2. pisano - Feb 1, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    I don’t know all the teams that want AJ, but I’ll tell you the team that doesn’t want him, that be the Yankees. Once burned, twice shy.

    • uyf1950 - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:18 AM

      My friend, i think the Yankees learned their lesson after bringing Javier Vazquez back. The one decent year Burnett had as a Yankee in 2009 combined with the 2 miserable years 2010 and 2011 make the decision to pass on him a no brainer. I honestly believe Burnett would do himself a favor by signing with a NL team.

    • dakotaandotter - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:50 AM

      AJ may not have had a good career in pinstripes but I can tell you one thing it’s doubtful the Yankees win the 2009 WS without the great game he pitched in game 2 which kept them from heading back to Philly down 2-0.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 1, 2014 at 11:33 AM

        My friend, that may be true. But if he hadn’t pitched such a crappy game 5 in that same series the Yankees may never had to go to a 6th game to win the World Series.

        So I kind of have to say his 2 performances in that World Series kind of cancel each other out.

  3. rockymountainoysters - Feb 1, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    The Cardinals hope that whoever signs him, they meet in a playoff series in 2014

  4. apkyletexas - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    As long as teams understand that he should never be put at the #1 spot in the rotation, he’ll do OK. Pitching for the Pirates, he consistently flamed out against opposing #1 pitchers from other teams.

    Also, he needs a short hook – if you get six innings, that’s about the max. He tried to pitch into the 7th or 8th a few times the last couple of years, and typically it blows up into a big inning. I would keep someone warmed up from the 5th inning on.

    Also, your infield defense is going to have to change positions pitch by pitch, batter by batter. He induces a lot of hard ground balls, and if your guys are even slightly out of position relative to the pitch and the batter, it will be an easy base hit. It can take a LOT of coordination to get that figured out, and one or two small positioning mistakes can blow up into a big inning.

    All of the above is why he’s not worth $14-$16 million a year. Plus he’s a year older, so there’s almost no way he will hit the same numbers he did the past couple of years.

    Positives – As a clubhouse leader and a mentor to other pitchers, he’s one of the best in the league. And his first 4-5 innings of a game can be extremely strong. He often looks like he could pitch a perfect game or throw 10+ strikeouts by about the 4th inning, but his fatigue sets in very quickly.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 1, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      We all know that he has positives and negatives. He can look great at the start of a game and then lose concentration and get into trouble. He is a decent fit for Toronto, because the Jays have a strong bullpen and because they have some pitching prospects who are only a year away from being major league ready.

      • apkyletexas - Feb 1, 2014 at 12:49 PM

        Then Toronto would be a good landing spot – as long as you have very high IQ and skill-level infielders.

        I wouldn’t want him back with the Pirates – way too much $$$ for the 8-9 wins he would get us. Unlike a lot of other teams, we can’t afford to pay in the neighborhood of $2 million per win.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 1, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        Toronto has skilled infielders. Reyes, Lawrie and Goins are good with the glove. One of the key factors of course, is his salary demand. Baltimore seems to want him a lot and might be willing to pay up, providing that he passes their dreaded physical.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 1, 2014 at 3:58 PM

        too bad lawrie and especially reyes are always hurt, lots of good they do on the DL list

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        too bad for unclean harold, that both his capital letters and his equipment are permanently on the dl.

  5. Mark - Feb 1, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    The Jays would be better off signing one of the guys with a draft pick attached since their first is protected. Less teams would be interested in them. That being said if Burnett was willing to come to Toronto the Jays should make it a priority to try and sign someone who throws harder than 85 MPH.

  6. thebadguyswon - Feb 1, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    Back to the AL East….sounds like a great idea.

  7. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 1, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    STOP!! Please stop linking the jays to free agents! So far all they have proven this offseason is that they are NOT SPENDING money!! And unless they offer big deals to any of these players why would they want to come to a team that was almost 30 games out of first place?? Please stop the madness with these articles that are total BS!

    • cur1968 - Feb 1, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      /poo flung

      Our number one fan, right here folks! He never misses a Beaver post. Go see him at the Bronx Zoo, Chimp # 2. Mind you stay out of range, though. His poo flinging arm is pretty good. The keepers have to keep him on a soft diet (he’s got only one toof, y’see) but he’s not above augmenting his scour with the droppings of other animals (and rolling in it, too). Stay down wind.

      Just follow the signs:

      • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 1, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        hey I understand the truth hurts sometimes and all I wrote was the truth. What have the jays done this offseason so far? Oh yea they signed a below average catcher for next thing to nothing, case CLOSED sucker!

      • cur1968 - Feb 1, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        You’re so cute when you get on on your ‘puter and type back at me. Its like I have a trained monkey. Wanna peanut, boy? You know you do! Atta boy!

      • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 1, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        better check who replied to who first there junior, you and gator are the biggest members of my fan club as I cant write anything without one of you a$$clowns chiming in

      • cur1968 - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        Haha! Still at it boy? Another peanut? There ya go!

        Just keep chiming in on my team’s posts, chimpy. You’ll never be short of peanuts.

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