Christopher Reina. 5th January, 2009 - 6:46 pm
Pat Burrell went 0-for-6 with three strikeouts and two walks during the two World Series games in Tropicana Field, but he must have saw something he liked beyond the $16 million the Rays have given him for the next two seasons.
Depending on the system used to parse his defensive numbers, Burrell was or was not one of the worst left fielders in the game, and that factor in his game will be almost, if not entirely, removed from the equation as he will be Tampa Bay's primary designated hitter.
Pulling him off the field will make Burrell more valuable than he was in 2008, when he was ranked 142nd in our FIC for 2008 and 'deserved' to make $6.5 million. He therefore had a Reina Value of -52%.
Signing a free market player to a contract that pays just $1.5 million annually more than he is probably worth represents a savvy signing from Andrew Friedman and is a flawless example of how the Rays will continue to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox with their current core.
The Rays needed another right-handed bat, and Burrell hits lefties extremely well, with a career OPS of .950 compared to .819 against righties. In 2008, he hit for an OPS of .952 against lefties and .875 overall with 33 homers, 102 walks, and 136 strikeouts.
Burrell undoubtedly enjoyed hitting in Citizen's Bank Park more than, say, Veteran's Stadium, but his lifetime career OPS of .914 doesn't begin to compare to the splits of a Matt Holliday (1.068/.803).
There is nothing not to like about a short-term, affordable contract for an extremely consistent (.504, .502, .502, and .507 slugging percentages since 2005) bat.
Grading the Deal: A