According to reports by FOX Sports and ESPN, the American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays have signed Pat Burrell to a two year, $16 million deal to become their new designated hitter. Burrell played for the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies last season, hitting .250 with 33 home runs, 102 walks and 136 strikeouts. He is a .257 hitter for his career with 251 home runs in nine seasons.
I never thought Pat Burrell was that great of a player, but maybe his being a Philly clouded my judgment to some extent. I would take him over the alternative, Jason Giambi, because he is the righthanded bat that the Rays needed and he is younger (32 years old to Giambi’s 38). He can hit about 30 home runs a year, maybe more if he just concentrates on offense by being a DH (which is the current plan, thankfully). His high walk rates (over 100 per year) can also lead to runs scoring and help make up for his low batting averages and high strikeout rates. His career onbase percentage of .367 helps cover up that .257 average. Batting behind Pena and Longoria, I think Burrell can drive in 100 runs easily.
This is, of course, the optimistic way to view this move, which I always look at when players join the Rays. There are some negatives about Burrell including questions about his attitude, but as far as I know he is not a criminal and he doesn’t noshow games and team events. So I will accept him as a part of this team and hopefully accept catwalk dents and holes in the roof as part of the stadium.
Welcome to the Rays, Pat.