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.