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!