Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Color Me Skeptical

Vowel-Challenged Barry Svrluga's article in the Post today reporting that the Nationals made a 4 year, $40 million offer to AJ Burnett struck me as odd news. The Nationals' interest in Burnett was not reported at all before Sunday, so far as I can tell. In fact, there have been few, if any, reports of interest by the Nationals in any free agents thus far this year.

So something smells about the Nationals offer to Burnett. It was known that the Blue Jays were offering at least a 5 year, $50 million contract to Burnett as early as November 17th. So the Nationals' 4 year, $40 million deal came in late and low...the kind of offer that is only going to get rejected. (Mind you, the Cardinals offered 4/$40 as well, but they could at least hope for the discount of Burnett growing up a Cardinals fan and, oh by the way, the Cardinals having won 100 games last year).

So what's the point of making an offer you have a good idea is going to be rejected? Mollifying your fan base is one reason. It seems to me that you only make that offer if you have an agenda other than signing AJ Burnett. Perhaps it's no more than shutting Tom Boswell up.

But if that was a real offer, and the Nats are willing to spend some money on free agents this offseason, the $10 million per year is encouraging. Nats Blog favorite Jarrod Washburn can probably be had for a similar contract - or perhaps even cheaper, given that Washburn is 31 years old and past what most people think is a pitcher's "prime." Scott Elarton can probably be had for a fraction of that price - think $4 million per year. If the Nats signed Elarton and Washburn for $13 million per year, they could claim victory and depart the field this offseason.

By the way, in my last post, I forgot that the Nats had acquired Brian Lawrence. He'll fill a spot in the rotation - hopefully the #5 spot. That, of course, leaves Ryan Drese for the waiver wire or long relief.


At 2:31 PM, Blogger El Gran Color Naranja said...

I'd go with the "Burnett's wife" theory. She's from the area and they were hoping that be enough to lure him here for less money.

But lets be honest. $$$ always win. Lifelong Cardinals Fan < $10 million. Close to Hometown < $10 million dollars.


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