[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.
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.