The Tampa Bay Rays are like your grandmother. They never throw anything away unless they absolutely have to. But what if that “anything” is costing the team wins?

Marc Topkin writes that if Pat Burrell continues to struggle, at some point the Rays will cut their losses and cut Burrell loose

For now, the Rays are going to continue to be patient with DH Pat Burrell. They’ll keep having him work with hitting coach Derek Shelton. And they’ll keep saying they’re confident he’ll start to produce…But they won’t keep that up for long. There’s a date — maybe in mid May at the 45-game mark, perhaps into June after 60 or so games — when if Burrell (hitting .083 at 1-for-12 with six strikeouts) continues to struggle, enough will be enough…The $9 million they are paying him this season, on top of the $7 million last season, is spent money. Barring a team unexpectedly willing to make a token trade, the Rays will just have to accept their mistake and cut him loose.

And who would replace Burrell? The Prodigal Son, Rocco Baldelli

Baldelli, 28, is working out and taking batting practice regularly at the Trop…And though his shoulder still isn’t right, he could hit in a big-league game today. And, be sure, he wants to play again.

One thing is for certain. Rocco couldn’t be any worse than Burrell has been so far. And the fans would be much more patient with Rocco.

Topkin speculates that this could happen in mid-May or early June. That seems reasonable. But if the Rays have already decided that this is an acceptable course of action, then they may not even wait that long.



  1. Erik Lurz says:

    If the Rays don’t improve against left-handed pitching do you think Burrell will be the only one to go mid-season if struggling? Burrell and Kapler were aquired specifically to help the Rays against lefties, Kapler got his act together eventually last year, but what if they’re both below the Mendoza line, mid, late May? There’d be a variety of things they could do, from bringing back Joyce and starting Rodriguez at 2B Zobrist in RF against lefties, to possibly seeing Ruggiano, Perez, or if healthy Jennings.

  2. Don says:

    The Rays will NEVER just CUT Burrell…the embaressment factor would be way too much for AF and mgt.
    At best they will weed him out in a slow playing time decrease…in the meantime we all suffer…as Willie and Co. continue to sit!

    • Brian H says:

      don that makes no sense. what makes you think management will be soprideful that they cant admit a mistake. what has led you to believe that? if they arent giving pat playing time, than hes not on the team anymore, they arent going to waste 9 million on the bench.

      • Don says:

        Man you got me in a bad spot…Lets take it one part at a time…
        “mgt. so prideful they can’t admit a mistake” When HAVE they admitted a mistake….EJ trade? Josh Hamilton dump, Burrell acq., sticking with Upton batting 1st, starting Gabe & Gabe instead of Zobrist in 2009, and sticking with .220 hitters in 2009.. I’m tired you want me to continue?
        The major point is $9mil has been wasted whether he plays or why continue playing him when there are players that can do better on the team….why is that so hard to understand??

        • Justin says:

          EJ trade seemed to even out. Not sure why you think it is a mistake now. I guess we’ll see, since he got traded after one year.

          Could we have gotten more for Ejax? Maybe, and I would have thought so, but who knows. Out of the gate in 2009 it looked bad, but now, it looks pretty even.

          But I do agree: I don’t think the Rays dump Burrell. I have no idea why he’s even on the roster now, but after today’s game, I’m not sure I care. The Rays are in the money making business, not the fan-appeasing business.

          • Don says:

            EJ TRADE EVEN OUT…well lets see… EJ was an all star pitcher winning 14+/- games for Detroit and Joyce is still in the minors/hurt and still not in the majors 2 years later…
            Sounds like an even trade to me???????????

        • Brian H says:

          don you just listed their mistakes, nothing to do with pride. every management makes mistakes. as for the zobrist things, he had never played as a full time rf ever in his career and throw him into a fulltime rolse as an OF in 2009 would be against their defense first strategy. as for hamilton and ejax, they made a gamble and it didnt payoff. it has nothing to do with being so stubborn that they would keep a non producing 9 million dollar DH on the bench.

          and one other thing on management sticking with gabes. They obviousily has faith in those two and knew they were on the cheap. However in burrells case being expensive and already trying to trade him, and picking up blalock shows their loss in faith in him. there attempt to trade him already shows they are admitting that they made a mistake espicially if they were considering on taking on a consistent headcase. like milton bradley

          your statement was they will NEVER just CUT him bc of the embarassment factor. i asked you about an apple and you started. talking about oranges.

          • Don says:

            Ok…Lets go this way…. I’ll BET your apples, oranges or your lunch money Burrell Never gets CUT from the Rays….Is that simple enough..and how much do you want to bet?

          • Brian H says:

            don i bet you a pair of my tickets that if he is hitting under .225 in july he will most definetly be cut, and power production is still considered low. what do i get?

  3. Alex says:

    You think Joyce would help against LH pitching? HAHAHAHHA

    • Political_Man says:

      I don’t know that Joyce would be the correct option here but I’d like to see Aybar get a chance to DH, which is what the team should have done instead of signing Burrell. Maybe Rocco against lefties and Aybar against righties. I would even move Kapler and bring Blalock into the mix…

      S-Rod is as good an outfielder as Kapler IMO.

  4. leroy hallanight says:

    The Rays are not going to cut Burrell until they need his spot. We have Aybar and even Blalock waiting. We also have Leslie Anderson coming all ready to jump in that hole. Also Ruggiano and Joyce are in line before old soft Rocco. The Rays have to be about young talent, not old glories like Pat the Miss or Rocco the coach. We are bleeding talent at Durham from Montoyo to Heath Phillips.

  5. Joe says:

    What would happen if Marc Topkin continued to struggle? Would he be DFA’ed??

    • Dave says:


      I can see absolutely the Rays dumping Burrell. With their middle bullpen as it is right now you know Freidman is thinking this team can’t score enough runs for their starters. When you have to pray to get to your 1st high profile closer – not a very good game plan when competing the Al East.

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