We will be appearing as a guest today at 1:00pm on the Rays Digest podcast to talk about the Pat Burrell acquisition. You can listen live HERE, or download the podcast later. Until then, let’s take a look at what is being written about the Rays’ newest bat…

[Marc Topkin at the St. Pete Times] (with bonus bullets)

  • Burrell will make $7 million in 2009 and $9 million in 2010.
  • The signing will make any further additions to the roster very difficult with the ’09 payroll in the neighborhood of $60 million. Topkin says it will take creativity to add a player like Rocco Baldelli.
  • Topkin lays out several possible lineups and Joe Maddon says putting the lineup together is “going to be fun”.

[Rob Neyer at ESPN] (with bonus Huzzahs)

What a fantastic move…we may assume he’ll be worth less than $20 million over the next two seasons…How much less? We can’t exactly know, but $16 million for two years seems just about right. Especially considering that he’s actually more valuable as a DH than as a left fielder. And while it would have been easy for the Rays to rest on their considerable laurels and assume that a full season of David Price will give them all the boost they need, it’s a lot smarter to make a real effort to get better, because some of the things that went right in 2008 will go wrong in 2009. Bravos and Huzzahs are definitely in order.

[Her Rays] (with bonus pictures):

Being a Gemini I’m often kind of two-sided, and this is definitely the case with Mr. Burrell. The sharp, business, girl who wears her glasses to look smarter knows this is a good move and a great get by the Rays front office…On the other hand, the flip flop wearing girl who gets by on vibes and gut feelings, is really glad the Rays didn’t go for Giami or Abreu, but has no idea what to think of Pat Burrell. Philly fans got very frustrated with his streakiness. Plus, have you ever seen him run?

[The Philadelphia Inquirer] (with bonus lack of fact checking)

Burrell was the highest-paid Phillie last season, when he earned $14 million. Although the average annual value of his contract is reportedly $6.5 million lower than that figure, he likely will join Rays first baseman Carlos Pena as the highest-paid player on the team. Pena is due to earn $8 million next season [Ed. note: Burrell will make $7MM. That is less than Pena and Carl Crawford who will make $8.25M]

[David Chalk at Bugs and Cranks] (with bonus yelling and cursing)


[Baseball Think Factory] (with bonus stolen correspondence)

Once again, the Oracle, in violation of laws both state and federal, has risked life and limb to seize secret [letter written from Andrew Friedman to Ruben Amaro Jr]. The Oracle, disguised cleverly as a man standing next to a mailbox with a crowbar, brings you the real story.

[Keith Law at ESPN] (with bonus rain for our parade)

If you’re looking for a negative here, Burrell is the type of player who does not age well — he has “old man’s skills,” meaning power and patience, but is a poor defender and is a 20 runner on the 20-80 scale. He faded very badly down the stretch last year, hitting .191/.295/.365 in August and September amid rumors that he was playing through a foot injury, although the finalization of this contract indicates that he checked out physically.

[Drays Bay] (with bonus mocking of Rays fans)

Here we mock dumb people…[random comment from St. Pete Times]…Look at this dummy.

[Sabernomics] (with bonus mocking of Rays fans and Pat Burrell)

This leaves me with the final explanation: Burrell was willing to accept less to play in Tampa…Burrell went to college in Florida, so maybe he likes it there. Playing in front of fans who boo you for your big salary even when you are a productive player has to be frustrating. In Tampa, if the team stinks the fans just don’t go to the game. He’s earned a total of $54 million over the course of his playing career, so he’s probably willing to sacrifice some additional wealth for comfort.

[Rays Digest] (with bonus Christmasy joy)

Just like that, the bat that they have been looking for has fallen to them—a late Christmas gift…any baseball fan who counts out the Rays, or thinks that the East will come down to a two-team race, is simply not paying attention.

[The Boston Globe] (with bonus green monster envy)

In the wake of Pat Burrell agreeing to a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, here is something to consider: Tampa has shored up its two weakest spots in the lineup since the end of the 2008 season, when the Rays advanced to the World Series…The point? Tampa is getting even better.

[Marc Lancaster at the Tampa Tribune] (with bonus southpaw analysis)

As Friedman said, Burrell’s presence alone isn’t going to reverse the Rays’ fortunes against lefties, but the trickle-down effect should be a positive one. The hitter himself agreed.

[Newsday] (with bonus bizarre descriptors)

The positives: It sounds like Burrell’s personality will fit in well with Tampa Bay’s tight [Ed. note: tight?] group. One Phillies official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, described Burrell as a “great teammate” who isn’t afraid to call out another player when the situation merits it.

[Gary Shelton at the St. Pete Times] (with bonus non-numbers analysis)

You know how you judge a player? In part, by how his teammates feel about him. And the Phillies loved Burrell…He was Pat the Bat, after all. Once, his teammates made up a shirt with a photo of Burrell lifting weights on the front with the slogan: Pat Burrell: Man or Machine…If you wonder why, perhaps you should consider Burrell’s answer Monday when he was asked which part of his game he took the most pride in…”It’s an attitude that winning comes first,” Burrell said. “All the other stuff will come. There is a lot of outside-the-game stuff that goes on in baseball. If the emphasis stays on what happens on the field and on taking care of your teammates, all the other problems tend to solve themselves.”

[The Infield Chatter] (with bonus green)

Aside from possibly finding one more reliever to round out their bullpen, the Rays’ offseason shopping spree is complete. And to think, it cost them less than $20 million dollars – a mere $425 million less than the Yankees. Yet – call us crazy – the two teams will likely be separated by mere inches in 2009.

[Real GM] (with bonus fuzzy math)

Signing a free market player to a contract that pays just $1.5 million annually more than he is probably worth represents a savvy signing [Ed. note: paying more than a player is worth is “savvy”?] from Andrew Friedman and is a flawless example of how the Rays will continue to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox with their current core.



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