Source disputes offer to Burnett
Earlier report had Braves guaranteeing fifth year in contract
LAS VEGAS -- The Braves are going to try to prevent A.J. Burnett from joining CC Sabathia on the Yankees. But despite an earlier report, it doesn't appear they've provided Burnett a guaranteed five-year contract yet.
FoxSports.com reported Wednesday morning that the Braves had made Burnett a five-year, $80 million offer. But a Major League source has since said that he doesn't believe those terms are correct and went as far as to say that he doesn't believe they are "even close."
The Braves have talked to Burnett's agent, Darek Braunecker, multiple times over the past 24 hours. But it's unknown how much they might have sweetened the four-year offer they made last week.
Last week's offer, which was believed to be worth $60 million, included a vesting option for a fifth season. The Yankees reportedly offered Burnett a four-year, $64 million contract on Tuesday.
Even though they have committed themselves to paying Sabathia $160 million over the next seven seasons, the Yankees are still in pursuit of Burnett, Derek Lowe and Ben Sheets, who stand as the top three remaining pitchers available on the free-agent market.
While saying that Burnett will definitely have the opportunity to accept a guaranteed five-year contract if he desires, Braunecker has also made it known that this isn't necessarily a "make-or-break" element for his client.
With that being said, the Braves are in a position where they could be persuaded to guarantee a fifth season for Burnett. They are in a desperate search for an ace, and if they don't land him, they likely aren't going to find a comparable option to fill the top spot in their rotation.
While Burnett is just one of the top starters the Yankees are pursuing, he stands as the primary target for the Braves, who are doing all that they can to lure him to Atlanta.
Sources have said that Burnett was appreciative of the recruiting call placed last week by Chipper Jones.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.