About an hour ago, I received a text message from a buddy of mine who also happens to be a Boston Red Sox fan. It read, "The Rays signing Pat Burrell to a two-year deal? Great for us."
I don't agree.
In fact, I think Burrell is the perfect piece for the Rays line-up, and I think that they got a steal in getting him for two years and $16 million. Obviously, the Phillies didn't want the left fielder back in town, as evidenced by the three years and $30 million they handed Raul Ibanez. They obviously view Ibanez as an upgrade, someone who can bring the consistency that Burrell sometimes lacked.
But while the Phillies wanted someone more reliable hitting behind Ryan Howard, the Rays were in search for a powerful right-handed bat for the middle of the line-up. And they found it in Burrell.
Check out the Rays potential Opening Day line-up:
- Akinori Iwamura 2B
- Carl Crawford LF
- B.J. Upton CF
- Carlos Pena 1B
- Evan Longoria 3B
- Pat Burrell DH
- Ben Zobrist/Rocco Baldelli RF
- Dioner Navarro C
- Jason Bartlett SS
It appears as if Burrell will serve as the Rays' DH. Carl Crawford is entrenched in left field, and neither he nor Burrell has ever played RF. Designated hitter is a role in which Burrell has struggled during his limited action in interleague play. In 85 career at-bats as a DH, Burrell has hit.153/.258/.224 with one home run and seven RBI. But I don't put too much stock into those numbers. I'm sure DH is like any other position -- it takes time to learn.