[Update 6:15pm] Marc Lancaster has some of Burrell’s thoughts from his conference call. Marc Topkin has a couple of quotes from Andrew Friedman. The most telling is that the Rays will have still look to make improvements but that “this signing is a major commitment of our resources and it will dramatically hinder our flexibility going forward.”

[Update 4:09pm] To say the always entertaining The Fightins are unhappy with the Burrell signing, would be an understatement. Burrell had turned down a 2-year, $22 million deal during the regular season to stay with the Phils. And the picture at The Fightins explains why Burrell was known among his teammates as “The Bait”.

[Update 2:56pm] Buster Olney is reporting that the Rays and Burrell have agreed to a contract that is now only pending a physical. Olney agrees that it is two years and $16 million.

[2:19pm] Ken Rosenthal is reporting (via MLB Trade Rumors) that the Rays are close to reaching a deal with Pat Burrell on a two-year, $16 million deal.

The Rays, filling their need for a power hitter, are close to signing free-agent Pat Burrell to a two-year, $16 million contract, according to major-league sources…Burrell, 32, will serve as the team’s designated hitter. The Rays, nearing their payroll limit, could use some combination of Ben Zobrist, Gabe Gross and Fernando Perez in right field.

It is no surprise that the Rays may land Burrell. But it is a surprise if they get him on a two-year deal. We thought all along that it would be either a one-year deal with possibly an option year.

Outstanding signing by the Rays all the way around. Rays DHs posted an OPS of .760 in 2008, good for only 8th in the AL. Burrell hit .250-33-86 last season for the Phillies. He has been a very consistent hitter, with an OPS+ between 122 and 128 each of the last four seasons. He also boasts a career .950 OPS against left-handed pitchers.

Without any further moves, the Rays’ 2009 payroll will be $63-64 million depending on how much each of the arbitration-elgible players make.

Sources: Rays, Burrell agree to contract [ESPN]
Sources: Rays, Burrell near two-year, $16M deal [Fox Sports]
Rays Close To Signing Burrell [MLB Trade Rumors]

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40 Comments

  1. Clayton says:

    Excited. Pensive, but excited. I feel like this could be a Jason Bay situation all over again. What happens in RF if this is true?

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  2. The Professor says:

    Joyce will get a chance to prove he is an everyday player. If not...RF may end up being the same clusterf*** it was last year. Gross against righties and "throw a dart at the roster" against lefties.

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  3. James says:

    i guess we could still see the Rays bring in a cheap right fielder. but with Gross in-house, i am guessing it would just be a right-handed platoon. So no Griffey. No Garrett Anderson. And with the payroll over $60-Mil the Rays would probably prefer to subtract payroll, as opposed to adding to it.

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  4. meech.one says:

    Congrats, Rays fans.

    Just a tip, though: Don't leave your girlfriend unsupervised within a five mile radius of The Bat. Unless, of course, you were looking for an excuse to break up with your girlfriend.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Loooove it. Now let's get Rocco on the they-stuck-with-me-when-I-was-injured discount for the RF platoon. I'm happy.

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  6. Joe D. says:

    Yuck... I don't really love this one for the Rays, I'd rather Just see Hinske or Gomes back, really what's the point of Burrel over Gomes?

    Both .250 hitters with 35 HR power below avg defence. Gomes is younger and a better baserunner.

    So much for our "impact" bat...

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  7. Ghost of Quinton McCracken says:

    Joe D.

    you are joking right?

    Let's see? There is Burrell's career .370 OBP compared to Gomes' .330.

    Burrell's OPS splits are .819 and .950

    Gomes' splits are .740 and .880.

    don't get me wrong. I love Jonny B Bad, but he is not Burrell.

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  8. Clayton says:

    Prof, I see how you got to the $63-$64 million number. No Percy and a Bradford trade get us back $7.5 million. Got to be even more likely if this happens, right?

    Also, how many spots are open on the 40-man roster right now? 5?

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  9. Rays Party Chairman says:

    Difference between Burrell and Gomes is Burrell is proven and Gomes is still trying to reach halfway.

    Burrell will make the RF/DH situation clearer. Gross won't be here long, as soon as Joyce is ready, Gross is out. The Rays will probably have Rocco back as well.

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  10. The Professor says:

    actually, with Joe Nelson, Derek Rodriguez and Pat Burrell, i think the Rays are right at 40 on the roster. but certainly that could change with Ryu and Hammel being out of options.

    Unfortunately i think we are stuck with Percival and when he was healthy in '08 he wasn't bad. of course he is another year older and still 70 pounds overweight.

    the Rays would love to move Bradford, but i think they are going to have a hard time doing it. if the Mets say "no" to his salary, i am not sure who would say yes.

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  11. Clayton says:

    Then maybe it's time to move Carl for prospects? Aybar to LF, Joyce/Gross/Perez/Zobrist in RF. Maybe get a majors-ready reliever and a quality prospect (plus salary relief) for Carl?

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  12. The Professor says:

    moving CC is not out of the question. i heard somebody recently speculate that Crawford could be moved but they thought it would only happen during the season if the Rays fell off the pace. i think it depends on where the Rays really want their payroll.

    but certainly the Rays could save ~$8MM by moving CC and inserting Perez. And while there would be a dropoff, itmight not be that dramatic.

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  13. Clayton says:

    True, you could just go straight to Perez. I really want Aybar's bat in the lineup, though. If Carl were gone, I'd like Aybar and Perez in the corners unless Joyce is ready. Then I still like Perez on the bench as a pinch runner/defensive replacement.

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  14. The Professor says:

    that's fine. certainly Aybar is the better bat. I just say Perez, because he offers a similar skillset to CC. And if Perez matures a bit, he would potentially be a better leadoff hitter than Aki. I think Aki slots better in the two-hole.

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  15. Surveyman82 says:

    I like the two year deal. Not long enough to hang us with a bad long term deal, short enough to keep Burrell hungery to play for a better deal down the road.
    Not playing everyday in the field will keep him off the DL, and make the outfield situation crystal clear. The guys is a good hitter. We should get way more production out of Burrell that we did with Cliffy.

    And since when is 32 old, for a DH? My only knock is he's another Lefty? Holy crap!! Hope we don't have to face C.C Sabithia, John Lester, too much next year....
    Hey if Bradford is the only dead weight on the payroll and the pen we still siting pretty.... Bradford has his niche, and really isn't all that expensive...

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  16. Surveyman82 says:

    I hate to say this but is that Crawford for Ervin Santana deal still on the table from a couple of years ago....

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  17. Justin says:

    KEEP Bradford, and lose Percival somewhere in Plant City.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Great signing!He should be full time DH through the whole game almost every game!He adds more power and he also adds a right handed bat that hit great against left handed pitching last year and before that.

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  19. The Professor says:

    Correction: Burrell makes 39 on the 40-man roster

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  20. Syar Og says:

    Surveyman,

    Burrell is a righty.

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  21. Clayton says:

    Lancaster is reporting that he passed the physical and the Braintrust is supposed to speak in 15 minutes.

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  22. Joe D. says:

    Ghost of Quinton McCracken,

    Burrell has better offensive # then Gomes, but we are talking in the NL, also he's 4 years older than Gomes and costs about $4-5 million more.

    The Rays #1 position or weakness was RF. Don't get me wrong LF wasn't a strong point either when CC was out, and CC's been out quite a bit lately and has complained about playing on the field turf, and DH wasn't a strong point for us either. Burrell could fill both of those needs.

    I just don't know that he's the "Impact" bat that I expected when Freidman said the Rays would bring one in. Ibanez, Dunn, Giambi, and Bradley fit that bill a lot more then Burrell.

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  23. Ghost of Quinton McCracken says:

    Ibanez and Bradley each cost twice as much as Burrell ($30M over 3 yrs). Ibanez will 37 and Bradley has only played 110 games twice in his career. Giambi wanted to be in Oakland. That leaves Dunn and Burrell. Dunn might have been good but he is a lefty. I think Burrell was the best choice for the money.

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  24. Robert Rittner says:

    Every deal is a risk, but this is one of the least risky imaginable. Burrell nearly always gets over 600 plate appearances with near 30 home runs, 100 BBs, .370+ OBP, .500+ slugging % and 125 OPS+. He has now done that for 4 straight years.

    He is just 32, and while he is probably beginning the downside of his career, the risk is only 2 years and 2008 had no clear red flags that he will suddenly crater. He has also hit well against righties while blasting lefties, and has not shown serious home/road splits either.

    He is prone to long slumps, but there is no clear dividing line between the first half and second half as his line for each is almost identical in his career. His only bad month career-wise has been June.

    The only younger free agent candidates were Bradley, a far greater injury risk, and Dunn, who would have been a good signing also, but not necessarily better. In fact, any of the choices presented risks, Burrell included, but it is a great signing and a worthwhile risk.

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  25. Joe D. says:

    Ghost of Quinton McCracken,

    Bradley is a career .280 hitter, and can play all OF positions and DH, and yes you do worry about his health, but he seems to have matured quite a bit in the last year or two, he's also a guy that has spent much or his career in the AL.

    Ibanez might be 37 but he's been very durable and would also just be expected to DH much the same role Burrell is going to fill. But wold be doing it with .286 BA and has been a more prolific RBI man the Burrell.

    As far as the money part $16M for 2yrs = $8M a year, $30M for 3 = $10M a year that's an extra year at 25% more you'd sell $2M more worth of jerseys and T-shirts if you got #3 or 4 hitter in the lineup than a Pat Burrell a #6 or 7 in the line up hitting DH.

    And listen this isn't that I hate Pat Burrell or something I just don't know that he's the "impact" bat that I was expecting and I'm not a big fan of a .257 BA. now 31 HR and 99 RBIs a year seems like good stuff. I watched not much more then the 5 Phillies V. Rays WS Games, so I really not know much about the guy, but I know that first take of this for me isn't "wow, this is the guy we really wanted". We'll see, I hope I'm wrong on this one...

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Here is a big thing to think about.

    Burrell destroys lefties. For a team that struggled against LHP, having Burrell's lefty destroying bat in the middle of the order is huge.

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=3811658

    That is a video clip of BusterOnley on ESPN saying he thinks the Rays line up is better now than the Yanks and Sox.

    Here is his projected line up:

    1. Iwamura 2B
    2. Upton CF
    3. Crawford LF
    4. Longoria 3B
    5. Pena 1B
    6. Burrell DH
    7. Joyce RF
    8. Navarro C
    9. Bartlett SS

    - bossmanjunior333

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  27. Leningan says:

    The guy's name is "pat the Bat" how much more of an impact do you want?
    I can't see us picking anyone (of note) up... But, could we be reserving that final 40-man spot for Rocco?

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Also there has been a rumor that a foot injury really hurt Pat offensively the last two months and postseason. First 4 months of the season, .278 BA with 26 HR.

    - bossmanjunior333

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  29. Robert Rittner says:

    It really incredible that fans are still pointing to BA and strikeouts when evaluating players. They are close to irrelevant in any assessment of a player's value, not entirely, but pretty close.

    And it is not a case of simply $2+ million more per year. It is not even the fact that Ibanez is older because it is true that both have proven durable. It is that the commitment to Burrell is just 2 years while that to Ibanez is for 3 years, and that is a bit difference. In dollars it is $15.5 million dollar difference, but even more it is having more room for maneuver in 2 years.

    All the hitters available are considered impact hitters, Burrell no less than the others. None are superstars and all have flaws, but Burrell is certainly no less valuable than any of the others for what he brings to the Rays.

    But above all please, please stop talking about BA and Ks as if they really mattered much.

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  30. Robert Rittner says:

    Oh yes, and I should mention that Burrell did not cost the Rays a draft pick while Ibanez did cost Philly a pick, its first rounder I think.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Here are some numbers to talk about.

    102 BB

    951 OPS v. LHP

    .370+ OBP

    Dont have the number, but Pat grinds out ABs and sees something like 4-5 pitches per at bat, which is a lot.

    - bossmanjunior333

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  32. The Professor says:

    it was indeed a first round draft pick (given up for Ibanez)

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  33. Anonymous says:

    YES!!! I might have to eat some crow in a few months, but right now this is the most excited I've been since game 7. I know a lot of you guys are comparing Burrell to Ibanez, Bradley, and others (I won't mention the Gomes joke), but he's not replacing those guys. Won't you guys feel a little better every time Burrell steps in instead of Floyd? Burrell produced twice as many HR's as our DH platoon did.

    Stephen ---Apopka's #1 Rays fan

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  34. JoshJones says:

    what a signing, congratulations rays!

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  35. Anonymous says:

    What happens now with Rocco?

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  36. The Professor says:

    Rocco is going to be interesting now. on the one hand, Friedman has already said he will have to be creative to bring anybody else in, so just signing him will be tough.

    on the other hand, the only position left seems to be the right handed bat of the RF platoon. Are the Rays confident enough in Rocco's health to send him out to RF two days a week, every week? Certainly there is rest there to be had, but what happens if Rocco needs a week off? the Rays do have other options, but if that happens, the bench is really tied.

    it will be interesting to see what happens.

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  37. DirtbagFan says:

    Good signing, period.

    The "braintrust" has a great grip on what makes a successful team able to stay consistantly successful:

    Consistant, heady veterans sprinkled with fiery young (fairly inexpensive) studs.

    They signed the impact bat for which they were looking, and didn't have to handcuff themselves financially in the long run.

    The next logical step in my mind is to move CC and lock-down Rocco.

    Perez in LF with Joyce/Gross and Rocco in RF... but where do we put Aybar??? Aybar MUST be in the lineup as much as logically possible, but where?

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  38. The Professor says:

    I think Burrell will get 300 plate appearances even without a regular job.

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