Pat Burrell signs with the Rays!

January 5, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Posted in Baseball, Rays | 15 Comments

So I wrote a post about how I’ll be rooting for Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl today, and then I walked away from the computer for a couple of hours.  When I came back and checked my blog, I found three comments on that post.  The first two weren’t about college football.  Instead, Pete from Dropped Third Strike and Sooz from Cardboard Problem informed me that Pat Burrell signed with the Rays today!

I am absolutely thrilled by this news!  Burrell was one guy that I really wanted the Rays to sign this offseason.  In fact, in this post on December 11, I stated:

“The next major piece of business for the Rays will be to sign a power-hitting DH, probably a right-hander.  My personal preference would be Pat Burrell, who I think would fit very nicely into the Rays lineup.”

Burrell was a key part of the middle of the Phillies lineup last year, and I thought he played well in the World Series.  It was Burrell who doubled off of J.P. Howell to lead off the bottom of the 7th in Game 5 with the game tied 3-3.  Eric Bruntlett pinch ran for him and scored the winning run on a Pedro Feliz single.  That double was really the most important hit of the game, and the outcome would have been different without it.

More importantly, Burrell has been a very consistent and very good hitter over the last five years.  Check out his stats here.  He’s always a good bet for about 30 home runs and 100 RBI with an OPS approaching .900.  Don’t be fooled by the batting averages in the .250s; Burrell walks over 100 times a season.  I’m liking the OBPs of .388, .400, and .367 over the last three years.  The one bad part of Burrell’s game is his defense, but that won’t matter.  He’ll be the full-time DH for the Rays.  His offensive numbers could actually improve now that he won’t have the distraction of trying to play left field.

Burrell is a right-handed hitter, and he’ll really help to balance the Rays lineup.  Check out how good their projected 2009 lineup looks with Burrell in it:

2B Akinori Iwamura (L)
CF B.J. Upton (R)
LF Carl Crawford (L)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
1B Carlos Pena (L)
DH Pat Burrell (R)
RF Matt Joyce (L)
C  Dioner Navarro (S)
SS Jason Bartlett (R)

The signing of Pat Burrell pretty much assures that Eric Hinske, Cliff Floyd, and Jonny Gomes will not be returning to the Rays in 2009.  Rocco Baldelli, who supposedly has a new diagnosis for his physical ailments, is also a free agent, but he might be re-signed to platoon with Matt Joyce in right field.

Another thing to like about this deal is that it’s only a 2-year contract for $16 million.  This is good because Burrell is 32 years old and he probably doesn’t have many more than 2 productive seasons left.  Consider that the Phillies gave Raul Ibanez, who is 36 (and turns 37 in June), a 3-year contract for over $30 million.  And Ibanez isn’t even as good of a hitter as Burrell.  The Ibanez signing is the worst move of the offseason by any team, in my opinion.  Phillies fans should be outraged by it.

Speaking of Phillies fans, are there any of you out there who have some Pat Burrell cards to trade to this Rays fan?

I can’t wait to see Pat Burrell in Rays blue on some 2009 baseball cards!



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  1. I am not sure I would consider Burrell a consistent hitter. He goes through incredible Hot streaks and droughts that are absolutely maddening. Before the big double in the series he was hitless.

    Although you are absolutely correct his year end numbers are pretty consistent and in my opinion he is a great asset in working pitchers. He walks often and runs deep counts. I think this is a hidden value in that it helps your teammates also.

    I also agree that The Phils far overpaid Ibanez. And that appears pretty apparent now.

  2. I’m thinking the 3-year 30-million the Cubs just signed Milton Bradley with is the new winner as worst move in the offseason. I don’t think Bradley can stay healthy for that long and what’s worse is he’s playing in the field. He probably should’ve stayed in the AL and platooned between LF/RF and DH. Bradley has been good, I’ll give him that. But he ain’t gettin’ any younger and played in 130 games only one season in his career.

  3. Yeah, the “consistent” adjective was in reference to his season totals being pretty consistent over the last few years. I do know about his hot/cold streaks, which is why I’ve stayed away from him in fantasy baseball. And I could’ve sworn that I saw Burrell hit an infield single in one of the early World Series games this weekend on MLB Network…

  4. Burrell had no hits in the World Series. I was there for all of them. I don’t remember him having an infield single. He’s so slow, I find that amazing.

    But his only hit turned into the winning run.

    I don’t think the Ibanez signing was terrible. He has pretty good numbers as well with slightly less RBIs that Burrell. But in the Phillies lineup, I think they could make that up when Utley comes back.

  5. 2008 Numbers:

    Pat Burrell: .250, 33, 86
    Raul Ibanez: .293, 23, 110 (5th in the league, I might add)

    You were saying?

    I’m a Phillies fan and as much as I loved Pat, he was wildly inconsistent and was becoming a liability in left field due to his back. He does draw a ton of walks, I’ll give you that.

  6. I’m thrilled Burrell is going to play in Tampa this year. He always killed the Mets — even if he hadn’t been quite so dominant in the past few seasons, I’m happy to not see him 15+ times a season.

  7. Sooz – I went back and checked the box scores. Burrell did only have 1 hit (the double in Game 5), but he also walked 5 times. So he was on base a lot, which is why it seemed like he had more hits. The “infield single” that I saw over the weekend was actually ruled an error on Carlos Pena, although it didn’t look like an error to me. That was in Game 1 at the Trop.

    Matt – I was looking at the numbers that matter:
    Pat Burrell: .367 OBP, .507 SLG
    Raul Ibanez: .358 OBP, .479 SLG
    (And in past years the disparity is even greater)

    Given that Ibanez is much older than Burrell, and the Phillies are paying him more money for a longer period of time, wouldn’t you rather have Burrell? When I objectively looked at Burrell and Ibanez at the beginning of the free agency period, I concluded that Burrell would be a much better signing. That was before the Rays and Phillies made their signings.

    Also, if you thought that Burrell was a liability in left field, wait til you see Ibanez out there! Check out this video!

  8. This is why I hate the offseason. Every signing like this for a rival team makes me despair of a third place (or worse – the Jays are always dangerous) finish for the Red Sox. Despite winning two World Series, those desperate feelings are so ingrained in my psyche that i can’t escape them. Good signing for your team, bad for mine who seem to be content to do nothing this offseason.

  9. I’m surprised no one has gone after Abreu. While he isn’t a power hitter or top fielder, he’s a sure-fire on-base machine. Either by hits or walks the man can find a way to get on base. And while on base he’s a threat to steal. Add that to a team with a power hitter and you got yourself a lot of RBIs. But he’s probably asking for way too much money and he’s going to find himself sorely disappointed. Especially after Burrell signing and Giambi most likely signing this week with the A’s.

  10. Hey Dave. I expect you to keep my up to date on my new second favorite team. I have tons of Burrell cards for trade if you are interested. GU, numbered, whatever you want. I think I might even have an extra auto or two somewhere.

  11. I think both are fine players. I just haven’t seen any falloff in Ibanez’s numbers despite his age, while Burrell is clearly worse for the wear.

    Alao…I think Ibanez’s significantly higher BA will be very relevant in Philly. Too many times did we have situations with a man or two on…followed by a Howard strike out and a Burrell strike out or walk. I think Ibanez’s ability to put the ball in play is going to plate Utley, etc a lot more consistently. Burrell’s walks are great…but they don’t drive in runs.

  12. I’m gonna miss seeing Pat Burrell when I go to Phillies games, but now my Yankees/Rays tickets will have a little more excitement.


  13. I am, as you know, a huge Phils fan and I cannot be happier that Pat the Bat will be in Tampa trying to win a championship with the Rays. We Phils fans love him – always have. He’s a trooper and he’s tough as nails. He’s a DECENT hitter – not a very good hitter. HORRENDOUS in the field but you won’t have to worry about that. He will be missed. Now, I totally disagree with your Ibanez comment. Overpaid? Yes. WAY better hitter than Burrell. WAY BETTER – look at the stats Dave!! The Milton Bradley signing today by the Cubs gets the worse signing of the offseason award, in my opinion! Anyway – congrats on getting Burrell. What a bargain at $8 million. Nice job by Tampa.

  14. I kinda like the Ray’s they have a great offense and it will be even better with Pat Burrell.
    I will take a walk over a strike out any day Pat is the man I wish him well and will misss his home run shots over the Bud light sign in Philly. Pat we will miss you buddy . i will never forget how you helped us win a world series.How soon we forget that pat clinched the division series for us and had the game winning home run and knoced derrick lowe out of game one in the NLCS series. I was there and I think he remembers me yelling Pat is the man after the game was over I am so glad I have that memory of seeing a big Smile on pat’s face. that night. Philly owes him a huge debt of gratitude and should be ashamed of the way they let him go. He is the hardest working guy on the team I have heard that from several other players. Good Luck Pat I will always remember that game 1 NLCS win you brought us Philly fans and the countless RBi’s and blasdts over the left field fence. Jusat remember you still have a lot of fans in Philly.

  15. Jawdy – I have looked at the stats. Check out my previous response to Matt’s comment. What stats are you looking at that show that Ibanez is WAY better than Burrell? If we look at the stats, it’s tough to argue with the Cubs signing Bradley too. He was much better than Burrell and Ibanez in 2008! You might not like this post on the DRaysBay blog, but it explains a lot about why the Ibanez signing was so bad for the Phillies.

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