Yankees Sign Starter A.J. Burnett
Well, make that $243.5 million the Yankees have committed to new starting pitchers this offseason. Just days removed from reaching an agreement with top-shelf free agent starter CC Sabathia, New York reached an agreement with former Florida and Toronto ace A.J. Burnett on Friday on a five-year, $82.5 million deal, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
The deal means that Burnett chose New York and the northeast over Atlanta and the south, as both teams were allegedly offering contracts that were strikingly similar. In the end, Burnett not only had one five-year deal to choose -- that was the goal set out by his agent, Darek Braunecker, after all -- but he had two, and both guaranteed the fifth year. The 32-year-old will take a physical either this weekend or Monday, a time by which Braunecker and Yankees GM Brian Cashman are expected to finalize remaining contract stipulations.
There's no word yet about whether this deal includes an opt-out clause after two or three years, but that's exactly how Burnett ended up here in the first place; when he signed a five-year, $55 million deal with Toronto in 2005, it included the first opt-out clause for a pitcher in baseball history.
Adding Burnett to New York's drastically changed stable of starting pitchers also gives the Yankees a truly formidable front three in their rotation: the recently signed Sabathia, Burnett and Ching-Ming Wang. The latter is expected to return at full health for spring training after missing much of 2008 with a foot injury.
Now all attention among free agent starting pitchers will shift to Derek Lowe, while other teams may try and scramble to pry Jake Peavy from the Padres as a deal with the Cubs that was all but done earlier this week has allegedly unraveled beyond repair after Chicago refused to include infielder Mark DeRosa.
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