10:07pm: Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution heard the Blue Jays will make Burnett a "take it or leave it" offer of four years, $54MM ($13.5MM per year). Burnett's agent hasn't heard that, and Ricciardi says there's no offer on the table currently. Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail says the Jays have indicated privately they'll do a three-year, $48MM deal ($16MM per year). On the open market, Burnett can probably get four or five years at a higher salary.
10:06am: A little more on Ricciardi's talks with Burnett's agent. Here, Ricciardi says talks have been "very productive." But here, Ricciardi says they're "not going bad, they're not going good. They're fine."
8:42am: Talking to Cathal Kelly at the Toronto Star, Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi gives the standard line of being willing to trade any player if it makes the team better. Beyond that, he gave some quotes about his offseason plans.
- Ricciardi says payroll will be $100MM, which should mean $15MM+ to spend after A.J. Burnett leaves for greener pastures. Ricciardi may allow for uncertainty in the rotation and spend that money on a slugger. He likes Manny Ramirez, but doesn't sound optimistic on signing him.
- Burnett hasn't officially decided whether to opt out, but...c'mon. The Jays' exclusive window to talk to him will depend on when he opts out. Burnett's agent set salary expectations at more than Derek Lowe, less than C.C. Sabathia.
- Ricciardi says trading B.J. Ryan is not a priority for the Jays at present.
- To sum it all up: Burnett is a long shot, he won't be replaced with another free agent starter, Manny is unlikely, Marco Scutaro is the shortstop, and Ryan is probably staying put. If all of those things hold true, it may be difficult to improve in 2008. On the other hand, full seasons of Vernon Wells, Adam Lind, Aaron Hill, Travis Snider, and a free agent hitter could result in a decent offense.
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