A.J. Burnett Joins Scott Kazmir and Dontrelle Willis As Newly Available Pitchers

An article by posted on November 6, 2007

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com is reporting the following:

With the Toronto Blue Jays looking at the possibility of losing starting pitcher A.J. Burnett to an opt-out clause in his contract next winter, general manager J.P. Ricciardi told ESPN.com that the team is willing to entertain trade proposals from interested clubs this offseason.

Burnett, 30, signed a five-year, $55 million contract with Toronto as a free agent in December 2005, but the deal included an opt-out clause after the third year. He’s scheduled to earn $12 million in each of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Burnett is the latest player whose long-term status with a club could be affected by an opt-out provision. Last year J.D. Drew left in the middle of a multi-year deal with the Dodgers and parlayed it into a five-year, $70 million contract with Boston. During the final game of the World Series, Alex Rodriguez informed the New York Yankees that he would be exercising his opt-out clause and declaring free agency.

Obviously Burnett does not come without risks. He has dealt with his share of injuries throughout his career. With the lack of quality pitching in the years free agent market, many teams are jumping on the opportunity to move a starter to fill some holes. Burnett joins Johan Santana, Jon garland, Dontrelle Willis, Joe Blanton, Rich Harden, Tim Lincecum and even Scott Kazmir as pitchers who can be had if the price is right.

The problem for the Mets is not the availability of quality arms. Their problem is whether or not they can convince other GM’s to ignore Pelfrey’s performance in 2007 and the fact that Humber lost 5 MPH off his fastball since the Tommy John surgey. The fact is that nobody is as high on the Mets prospects, than the Mets are. Last off season the Mets phone was ringing off the hook. This off season nobody’s calling.

The Mets can still make a deal for a top of the rotation guy, but don’t think for one minute that it will be easy. I trust Omar will do whatever it take to make sure the mets get what they need in the end.

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