Ricciardi Frustrated with Burnett Saga

Just when you thought the A.J. Burnett sweepstakes were getting ready to end midnight Friday, agent Darek Braunecker threw in the curveball and decided to make the parties wait. The Cardinals have been serious about landing the right-hander since Wednesday evening, but are forced into the stalling tactics of the inexperience agent. The Blue Jays? They are monitoring the situation from a safe distance, but refuse to enter the Braunecker's target range and get shot in the foot. More below....

We continue to hear that the offer the Cardinals made on Wednesday night had an expiration date. We continue to hear that the offer is set to expire sometime this weekend. Although we could not confirm it, we heard rumblings that midnight Friday was that date. Midnight Friday past with no announcement and no real news.

"They are stalling as much as possible" said one industry expert regarding Camp Burnett. "This could either be a brilliant strategy or turn around and shoot them right in the foot," our source said regarding the stalling ways of the agent.

"Teams are now beginning to get frustrated, and they will not wait around and play games. Clubs have needs and agendas. Sooner or later you have to begin looking at other options."

The Cardinals made what one baseball official described as a 'very fair offer' Wednesday evening. As we stated in our Friday report, that offer was believed to be worth just under $40 million for four years. That figure included a buyout after the fourth year, or a fifth-year team option at $10.5 million. Braunecker then faxed the Cardinals a counteroffer for a five-year contract worth $60 million.

"Even Scott Boras comes down on his demands when he realizes he won't get what he wants" said a baseball official late Friday evening.

As for Toronto? General Manager J.P. Ricciardi continues to publicly say he will not offer twelve million for five years to acquire Burnett. However, some question whether or not he will maintain that stance at the end of the day.

"The Jays need another top of the rotation starter, and it doesn't seem they can acquire it in the trade market. I think J.P. would rather trade for a bat, than for a pitcher."

Ricciardi is playing hardball with Braunecker telling the agent that Toronto does not have as much interest in Burnett after the B.J. Ryan signing, and they could move Miguel Batista to the rotation.

"Braunecker isn't buying it," said the source "but then again, who is?"

Most baseball officials still believe something could be finalized during the day Saturday. However, if this goes past the weekend and into the lobby of Wyndham Anatole Hotel, it will be a bad sign for the clubs. Burnett will get his money at that point.

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