ZONER’S HOT STOVE: BLUE JAYS’ BIG PLANS
J.P. Ricciardi has some major plans for the Blue Jays. He’s going after the big free agents and increasing the payroll from $50 to $85 million. Here is the story from the AP.
TORONTO (AP) – The Toronto Blue Jays are keeping up their
pursuit of A.J. Burnett but have yet to make a formal proposal to
the free-agent pitcher.
“We’re going to make an offer,” general manager J.P. Ricciardi
said Thursday. “We talked about some parameters but nothing that’s
Earlier this month, Burnett traveled to Toronto and met with
Ricciardi, Toronto ace Roy Halladay and pitching coach Brad
Arnsberg. Burnett got a tour of the Rogers Centre and went for a
steak dinner before attending the Raptors’ NBA season opener with
Halladay and Arnsberg, a former Marlins pitching coach who is still
close with Burnett.
When asked about the possibility of signing with Toronto,
Burnett said he was interested.
The 28-year-old right-hander is the top starter available on the
free-agent market. He went 12-12 with a 3.44 ERA for Florida,
although he struggled down the stretch and was banished from the
team in the final week after criticizing manager Jack McKeon and
his coaching staff.
Burnett missed almost all of the 2003 season following
reconstructive elbow surgery, and his career record is a modest
49-50, all with Florida. But he’s one of the few pitchers with a 98
mph fastball and a no-hitter on his resume.
Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest has said the team won’t
attempt to re-sign Burnett.
Toronto would love to pair him with Halladay, a former Cy Young
Award winner. Ricciardi plans to increase the payroll from $50
million to $85 million in an effort to improve a team that went
Ricciardi denied a report that the teams already made Burnett a
formal offer. Burnett is looking for a five-year deal.
The Blue Jays are also interested in free-agent closer B.J.
Ryan, who traveled to Toronto earlier this week for a recruitment
“We thought it went good, but it doesn’t matter how it goes. It
matters if they come here,” Ricciardi said.
Ryan had 36 saves and a 2.43 ERA for Baltimore last season.
Ricciardi also is interested in free agent designated hitter
“We’ve always liked him,” Ricciardi said.