FoxSports.com wrote: Posted 1:00am Ken Rosenthal DALLAS - Barring a late reversal, free-agent right-hander A.J. Burnett is expected to sign a five-year, $55 million contract with the Blue Jays on Tuesday, FOXSports.com has learned.
The St. Louis Cardinals, the only other team still in contention for Burnett, would need to do something "extraordinary" to land the pitcher, according to a source with knowledge of the talks.
The Blue Jays' offer to Burnett is superior to the Cardinals' in both years and average salary, the source said. The Cardinals are not expected to budge from their proposed four-year term.
Burnett's representatives informed the Rangers and Nationals on Monday night that Burnett had narrowed his choices to the Blue Jays and Cardinals.
The Jays' signing of Burnett, coupled with their earlier addition of closer B.J. Ryan, would give the team the two most expensive pitchers on the free-agent market to date, with deals totaling a combined $102 million.
Burnett, 28, is 49-50 lifetime with a 3.73 ERA. He lost his last six decisions while pitching in a pennant race for the Marlins last season, and the team sent him home early after he criticized the organization.
If the Jays complete their deal for Burnett, their next step likely would be to trade right-hander Miguel Batista, who no longer would be needed as their closer or as a starting pitcher.
The Jays are targeting a number of hitters, including Brewers first baseman Lyle Overbay, Rangers outfielder Kevin Mench and Nationals outfielder Brad Wilkerson.
The Burnett signing also could spark other activity in both the free-agent and trade markets. Agent Scott Boras, for example, has been waiting for the Burnett deal to be completed before aggressively pursuing deals for his free-agent starting pitchers — right-handers Kevin Millwood and Jeff Weaver and left-handers Jarrod Washburn and Kenny Rogers.
I'm still wondering who this source close to the talks is, it could very possibly be Burnett's agent, Darek Braunecker trying to drive up the price to get one last good offer from the Cards before signing with them.