Burnett opts out of Jays contract

DANA POINT, Calif. -- Toronto Blue Jays right-hander A.J. Burnett has filed paperwork to opt out of the final two years of his contract.

Burnett's agent, Darek Braunecker, gave the Blue Jays a final chance to re-sign him in a meeting on Tuesday. Toronto will still try to sign the right-hander on the open market.

As a free agent, Burnett is expected to draw major interest from the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles and possibly even the Nationals, among others.

Burnett had an option to vacate the remaining two years on his five-year, $55-million Blue Jays contract. He went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA and 231 strikeouts with Toronto and should command a salary of $15 million or more annually. The Blue Jays had been on the hook to pay Burnett $12 million per season over the next two years.

Braunecker disputed the notion that Burnett would prefer not to play in New York. "That perception couldn't be further from the truth,'' said the agent.

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