I just read this:
TheGlobeandMail wrote:Given a chance to play baseball in his backyard once again, Brian Giles elected to remain with the San Diego Padres instead of moving north -- either to Los Angeles or Toronto.
"Can't play our games in everybody's backyard, can we?" Toronto Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi asked yesterday. "Our only fear in going after Brian was that San Diego would get back in the picture."
The Blue Jays did reach contractual agreement with a player yesterday -- but it wasn't free-agent right-hander A.J. Burnett, one of the three free-agents targeted by Ricciardi this off-season. Instead, while discussing parameters of a deal with Burnett's agent, Darek Braunecker, who has told clubs the pitcher wants $13-million (all figures U.S.) a year for five years, the Blue Jays reached agreement with one of their own, outfielder Reed Johnson, on a $1.425-million contract.
Johnson, who hit .269, with eight home runs and 58 runs batted in, and made $342,000 last season, has been a valuable swingman in the Blue Jays' outfield.
Ricciardi spoke last night with Braunecker, and would not say whether he made a formal offer for Burnett. "We're not going to negotiate this through the newspapers," Ricciardi said.
Braunecker, who could not be reached for comment, has narrowed down his client's list of clubs, and several sources have said the Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals are the most ardent suitors.
Earlier this week, Ricciardi told the brass at Rogers Media, the Blue Jays' owners, that he does not want to guarantee Burnett a fifth year and would prefer instead to make the fifth year an option based on Burnett's reaching incentives in the earlier years of the contract.
But asked yesterday whether he still felt that way, Ricciardi said he was "50-50." Translation: if the fifth year is the only thing standing in the way of Burnett's signing, Ricciardi might now take the plunge.
The Blue Jays, who signed B.J. Ryan to a five-year, $47-million deal on Monday, saw Giles take the Padres' offer of three years and $30-million instead of Toronto's three-year, $33-million proposal.
Giles's agent, Joe Bick, told Ricciardi his client would have signed with the Blue Jays were it not for renewed interest from the Padres, who pulled out of the running for Giles last week, but returned to the bargaining table on Tuesday.
Giles told reporters in San Diego that he thought a charge by the Padres' division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, was behind the renewed interest. The Dodgers offered Giles three years and $34.5-million.
"I think the Padres knew I was going to sign with the Dodgers, and that changed their minds," Giles told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Giles, who will turn 35 in January, will be paid $9-million in base salary for each of the next three seasons. The club has an option on a fourth season at $9-million in 2009 against a $3-million buyout. That buyout figure is factored into the total cost of the deal, bringing it to $30-million.
Baseball's winter meetings will begin in Dallas on Sunday, and Giles's decision means Ricciardi will now rekindle discussions with the Texas Rangers about Kevin Mench, although if the Rangers ask for Miguel Batisa, Alex Rios and Brandon League, as they did at the general managers meetings in Indian Wells, Calif., it would be a short discussion.
Mench is a right-handed hitter and Ricciardi said that makes him of more interest to the club than Lyle Overbay, a left-handed-hitting first baseman whom Ricciardi asked the Milwaukee Brewers about at those meetings. But the Blue Jays are also prepared to revisit that discussion.
13 million for 5 years?
If that is what it is going to take to get Burnett, let him go.