Winter Meeting Lobby Notes

The Wyndham Anatole luxury hotel, near downtown Dallas is as grand and glorious as Texas itself. This week it's the host of the Winter Meetings of Major League Baseball. Here is an update on the scuttlebutt from the lobby.

Cardinal Fans are holding their breath for news about A.J. Burnett.

While there were unconfirmed reports that A.J. Burnett was spotted in St. Louis Sunday night, don't expect him to make an early appearance at the winter meetings.

Brunett's agent, Darek Braunecker, said there were no plans for his client to travel to Dallas as of last night. "A.J. will only come here if there's a news conference," he said.

According to reports by TheStar.com, "An impatient Blue Jays entourage awaiting a decision by free-agent pitcher A.J. Burnett is expected to get that outcome today."

The word late last night wasn't good for Jays fans, as Burnett was said to be on the verge of inking a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The stage for that unfolding drama was set earlier in the day when Burnett's agent, Darek Braunecker, made an inconspicuous, 5:20 p.m. arrival for baseball's winter meetings at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel and confirmed that a deal might be just a phone call away.

Insiders still consider the Cardinals have the upper-hand with their reported four year, $40 million dollar offer.

Earlier reports today suggested the Cubs may enter into the bidding war for Burnett, in addition to the Washington Nationals.

The Toronto Blue Jays are closing in on a five-year, $55 million contract with A.J. Burnett, a source told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick on Monday.

The St. Louis Cardinals, are expected to make a last-ditch effort to sign Burnett. He is the team's top priority and they think they have a deal on the table that is acceptable to Burnett and his agent, Derek Braunecker.

Braunecker spent much of Monday in meetings with Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi. The source said a deal could be struck as early as Monday night. But don't hold your breath. We have been doing that now for about 36 hours.

This deal could be done tonight or drag out until the end of the week or if Walt makes the right phone call, it's over and Burnett is wearing the Birds on the Bat next season and probably the next four after that one.

The St. Petersburg Times, in addition, is also reporting that A.J. Burnett, the top free-agent starter, is on the verge of a decision and may be leaning toward the Cardinals over the Rangers and Blue Jays

The St. Petersburg report is basically the same report we made here at www.thestlcardinals.com, 24 hours ago.

Mark Grudzielanek is expected to accept an offer from the New York Mets soon.

Kansas City and the St. Louis Cardinals both have expressed their desire to sign Mark to a new contract but apparently Grudz wants a three year deal and it's unlikely the Cardinals would go three years and Kansas City backed off when the third year of a contract became an issue.

Julian Tavarez is also a likely candidate to join the New York Mets next season.

Toronto has also indicated their interest in Reggie Sanders. The club has had preliminary discussions with Mike Powers, the agent for Reggie Sanders, the 38-year-old right-hand-hitting left fielder, who had 21 home runs and 54 runs batted in and hit .271 in 295 at-bats with the Cardinals.

"Fox might as well have an advertisement with the guy: coming this October, Reggie Sanders," a highly ranked Blue Jays executive said.

Sanders made $4-million last year, the second year of a two year $6-million contract.

The Cardinals could use Sanders back for another season or two, but they face stiff competition for Sanders from the Kansas City Royals, Mariners and Minnesota Twins.


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