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A.J. Burnett Rumors: Thursday

7:18: Mark Bowman at MLB.com says it's down to the Braves or the Yankees for Burnett. Interestingly, he notes that A.J. might not necessarily want to be an "ace" of a staff like he would be in Atlanta. He has the Yanks' offer between $80-85MM.

12:12pm: Rosenthal heard indications the Braves were preparing a final push for Burnett and would guarantee a fifth year.

10:33am: Rosenthal and Fraley see the Yankees as the clear frontrunner for Burnett.  They say Braunecker will contact other clubs today to give them one last chance to beat the Yanks' five-year, $85MM offer.  Will the Braves counter?  Burnett signing with the Yankees would be undesirable for the Blue Jays in two ways - they'd have to face him fairly often, and they'd (tentatively) get the Yanks' second-round pick instead of a first-round one.

9:46am: Buster Olney says the Yankees are confident they won't be overbid for Burnett, at least.

9:19am: Chipper Jones spoke to Burnett about ten days ago, and the pitcher told him that if he does play in the NL, it'll only be with the Braves.

8:53am: Ken Davidoff and Kat O'Brien wrote that the Yankees "appeared to be closing in on a deal" for Burnett late last night.  They put the offer at about $80MM.

8:32am: Ken Rosenthal and Gerry Fraley say the Braves have not offered Burnett five guaranteed years.  The fifth year is an easily attainable vesting option, though.  Dan Graziano says that this time around, Braunecker is not seeking an opt-out clause for Burnett.

2:19am: ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has been all over the A.J. Burnett talks.  Today he says the Yankees have a five-year deal worth about $85MM on the table.  Burnett's agent Darek Braunecker isn't seeking much more than that - he's eyeing a Carlos Zambrano-influenced $91.5MM payday.  It's an interesting comparison, given that Z's deal was signed over a year ago and not on the open market.

Crasnick says discussions continued with the Yankees late Wednesday.  Yankee players have been calling Burnett, lobbying him to choose their team over the Braves.  Crasnick believes a deal could be in place as soon as today.

Yesterday we heard conflicting reports about whether the Braves guaranteed a fifth year in their offer.


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