Rays Say Bye-Bye to Burrell
They might have been right.
The Tampa Bay Rays, who signed Burrell to a two-year, $16 million contract before the 2009 season, designated him for assignment today to make room for Hank Blalock. Burrell had hit just .202 with two home runs and 13 RBIs this season. The Rays have 10 days to dispose of Burrell’s contract. They can trade him, release or send him through waivers.
Asked if the Phillies have any interest in bringing back Burrell, Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “It’s unfortunate for him. I wish it would have worked out better there.”
Amaro cannot address their interest in Burrell because he remains with the Rays, but it seems there is no place for him on the 25-man roster.
Burrell has hit just .218 with 16 home runs and 77 RBIs in 496 at-bats the since he left the Phillies. He has just a .311 on-base percentage and a .361 slugging percentage. Out of the 213 players that qualify for on-base-plus-slugging percentage the past two seasons, Burrell’s .617 OPS is 198th. It is difficult seeing how Burrell would fit on the Phillies’ bench, especially with Ben Francisco and Ross Gload occupying those spots. Burrell cannot run well and has played just two games in the outfield since he left the Phillies. He also is a career .227 pinch-hitter.
A National League team’s fourth and fifth outfielders need some versatility. Francisco and Gload are much more versatile than Burrell because they can play multiple positions. Matt Stairs fit Burrell’s mold last season, but he also was an accomplished pinch-hitter.
“I think Burrell can still hit,” Charlie Manuel said. “I think he’ll get a job. I hope he does.”