the 5th year

this morning's p-d confirms the inference i drew yesterday from Inside the Dome, viz: burnett's agent is still trying to squeeze jock for a fifth guaranteed year. another item from yesterday's post -- that the cards' offer expired last night at midnight -- appears to have been off the mark; the p-d makes it clear that the cards are prepared to wait around for another day or two.

today's story refers to stl's offer as 4 yrs / $40m; it doesn't mention the fifth-year option that sources have reported (to bernie, among others) as part of the deal. i don't know if that's an oversight, or if the original reports were untrue; i tend to think the former. of more relevance, the article doesn't say whether any other club has offered burnett that coveted fifth year. per Inside the Dome, toronto still hasn't but may be prepared to do so. now here's the next question: if toronto or somebody else does grant the fifth year, is jock planning to match the offer? keep reading . . .

ITD's toronto sources are now saying that burnett hopes the washington nationals will jump into this, because his wife would like to live within driving distance of her baltimore-area family. the orioles are already out, says ITD, because they refused to consider a 5th year . . . . but if that's true -- and we're reading tea leaves here; ITD has been very accurate so far, but this is still unconfirmed information -- then we have to conclude that the cardinals haven't ruled out a 5th guaranteed year. because if they had ruled it out, wouldn't they be in the same boat as baltimore?

i have a hard time believing that jock would let himself get pushed into a 5-year deal by an agent as inexperienced as braunecker; indeed, now that i've written the words the notion seems ludicrous. but the longer braunecker pushes, the more likely it is he f**ks this up for his client. the winter meetings start tomorrow, and the cardinals will have concrete opportunities to upgrade the roster -- opportunities that must be seized or lost. at some point jock's going to have no choice but to cut bait and go in a diff'nt direction, leaving burnett out there with one less bidder and still without a guaranteed 5th year -- which he probably will never get. the blue jays desperately want this guy, yet even they have been unwilling to guarantee 5 and force the cards' hand. nor has some other cash-rich team that is looking for pitching -- phillies, mets, rangers, mariners, dodgers -- come in to trump stl and toronto. the 5th year ain't out there; burnett's agent seems to be the last guy to understand this.

he's got roughly 36 hours to come to his senses. because if (and perhaps i should make that "when") the cards walk away, burnett may very well be left to choose from offers from mediocre teams -- toronto, maybe detroit, maybe dc -- that are only marginally better than the one jocketty's offering now.

one last dispiriting thought: having lost out on furcal, the cubs now have money to burn . . . .

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