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This ain't a two-team division anymore

Posted by Gordon Edes, Globe Staff  December 6, 2005 11:35 AM

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J.P. Ricciardi, a guy the Sox wanted as their GM before they hired Theo Epstein, is announcing the return of the Blue Jays to the big time in unmistakeable fashion.

J.P., a native of West Boylston, signed closer B.J. Ryan by outbidding the field and now has done the same with free agent starter A.J. Burnett, who has agreed to a five-year, $55 million deal expected to be announced officially today at a press conference. Burnett has only periodically pitched as well as advertised, but put him at the top of a Toronto rotation with Roy Halladay, and no one will look forward to playing in Rogers Centre. Jays could use another power bat, but depending on whether the Sox hold onto Manny and Johnny Damon, and how the Yanks resolve their CF situation, Jays are looking to make a great leap forward in the AL East.

Arn Tellem, like any smart agent, is trying to get the Yanks interested in Nomar Garciaparra to play CF. I still think Nomar will opt to remain in the infield and make a move to the West Coast, but the dollars will obviously play a big role in his decision.

Grady Little is now part of a field of two for the Dodger manager job; Jim Fregosi appears to be the other finalist.

There are NO indications whatsoever that Manny has had second thoughts about leaving. His reps have a mandate to do whatever they can to get him out of town. You might recall that David Ortiz, in an interview in the Dominican, said there were private issues that Manny and his wife were dealing with that were driving his determination to leave. Let's just say the Sox haven't sent a contingent down to Lauderdale to get Manny to change his mind.

Laytah,
Gordon

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