Do you really think the Jays would be better off next year in the AL East by sitting back with their 50 million dollar payroll and losing once again to the Yankees and Red Sox? Would they have been a better team without Burnett and Ryan. Definitely not. I'd rather the Jays spend their money on good young pitchers as opposed to older, cheaper (but not by much) pitchers like Morris or Hoffman. I mean even Millwood is rumoured to be getting an 11 million dollar offer, and I'd much rather have Burnett than him. Is that extra year really such a terrible thing?
They had to spend the surplus of money somewhere, and what better way than acquiring two of the top FA's of 2005/2006. Money really isn't a problem for this team anyway, with them still being under the league average next year, and having one of the richer owners in the league. This is the best and most exciting off-season the Jays have had in 12 years, and I'm certainly hoping there will be more like them in the future.
Here is RotoWorld's take on the Burnett deal, they look at it pretty favourably...
RotoWorld wrote:ESPN is reporting that Burnett has an opt out after three years. Burnett will earn $7 million next year and $12 million in each of the following four, so he'd make $31 million before he could opt out. Since no one else is saying it, we will: this is a very good signing for the Blue Jays. Burnett is risky, but he's the one pitcher out there capable of being a dominant force for the next several years. If you're going to take a chance, it's much better to spend $11 million per year on Burnett than $7 million-$8 million on Paul Byrd or Matt Morris. And, frankly, everyone on TV and the papers expressing shock and disbelief at this deal just hasn't been paying attention. This doesn't raise the market for everyone else. Every team in MLB knew that Burnett could and likely would get this type of contract as a free agent. Deal with it. The money is out there, and it's going to get spent.
The opt-out is another interesting part of this contract. You have to think that if he underperforms, he will stick around for the 5 years, but if he exceeds expectations, he will almost certainly leave the Jays after the 3 seasons (assuming there will be a market like this one in 2008). That could mean having Burnett for 3 years at 29 million (a great deal). However, if he's pitching well at that time, I'd much rather have him for those extra two years.
I'm loving this off-season.