Well, at least Pat Burrell already knows the Tampa/Clearwater area.
Burrell is close to a two-year, $16 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. His career in Philadelphia ended when the Phillies signed Raul Ibanez last month. Burrell reportedly will be Tampa Bay's DH, which should be interesting because Burrell hasn't fared well as a DH. In 85 at-bats in 22 career games as a DH, Burrell has hit .153 with just one homer and seven RBIs.
Burrell made $14 million last season with the Phillies, which was one reason why the Phillies didn't offer him salary arbitration. They figured if they offered Burrell salary arbitration that he would accept because he would have received a raise, possibly making $16 million next season on a one-year contract. The Phillies simply preferred to go in a different direction, so they declined to offer Burrell arbitration and didn't pursue him as a free agent. They believe they're a better team with Ibanez than Burrell.
Of course, time will tell.
There's going to be a lot of talk in upcoming weeks about salary arbitration and potential long term contracts for Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels. Keep in mind that Howard can't become a free agent until after the 2011 season and Hamels can't become a free agent until after the 2012 season, so the Phillies don't feel any immediate pressure to get anything done. Instead, I think you'll see the Phillies try to sign players like Jayson Werth and Ryan Madson to contract extensions because they can become free agents sooner. Now, if the Phillies and Howard/Hamels talked about a deal that made sense, I think the Phillies would move on it. But if Howard is looking for A-Rod money, they're not just going to give it to him, either.