After originally saying he would take a few extra days to make his decision, Jordan Bastian reports that A.J. Burnett has in fact opted out of the final two years of his contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Although Burnett opted out, his agent Darek Braunecker says that the Blue Jays are still among to the top suitors to sign A.J., along with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Burnett's hometown Orioles. Though, I think the Blue Jays idea of a "competitive offer" is somewhere in the 3 year/$45 million dollar range. Obviously that pales in comparison to the money that Darth Steinbrenner can offer to him.
It will be interesting to see what the first big move will be in the free-agent market, because usually the first big-name signing dictates how the rest of the free-agent season will proceed. If it starts off with a ridiculous offer for C.C. Sabathia with something like 6 years/$125 million dollars, then Burnett will certainly get a big piece of the free-agent pie.
In other Jays news, the team picked up Angel Sanchez, Kelvin Jimenez, and Les Walrond ... which actually sounds like 2/3 of a protection ring for the Blue Jays moreso than waiver wire pickups. With these moves, it demonstrates more of J.P. Ricciardi's "throw shit at a wall, and hope something sticks" plan.