|Burrell a Good Start for Giants||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on June 16, 2010
When the Tampa Bay Rays offered free agent Pat Burrell a two-year contract worth $16 million dollars back in 2009, they thought they were getting a deal. Instead Pat "The Bat" Burrell turned out to be a total disaster in the DH role, managing just a paltry .221 average with 14 home runs in 122 games for the Rays in the first year of his contract.
Of course any player who hit .221 last year has to be considered a risk, but at that price general manager Brain Sabean has to consider local boy Pat Burrell a low-risk, high-reward kind of player. So far he's been right. All Burrell has done for San Fran in his first 10 games is hitting .407 with two home runs and five RBIs from the No. 5 slot in the lineup (stats are through Monday).
While it's hard to know just what went wrong in Tampa with Burrell, it looks like there is a chance of a revival to the man's career now that he's back in the National League. That's certainly not impossible as Burrell is just 33 and in 2008 did have a 33 home run campaign while hitting right around his career batting average of .254.
Maybe, just maybe, we ought to throw Burrell's 2009 statistics out the window when trying to evaluate the slugger. Certainly he struggled, but in a new league, with a new team, after spending his entire career in Philadelphia, a 30-point drop in batting average might not be considered falling off a cliff and the precipitous decline of his skill set.
The real issue was if he'd recover and find his groove again. The Rays decided he wouldn't and that it was time to put him out to pasture. But the Giants decided to give him another shot.
It should be interesting to see how this plays out. Burrell was a fearsome hitter in Philadelphia, regularly clubbing 25-30 home runs and driving in 80-100 runs. And while AT&T Park doesn't play like old Veteran's Stadium or Citizen's Bank Ballpark, Burrell still has to power to hit home runs there.
While this might make Burrell into a relevant player for fantasy baseball purposes, by himself he won't be enough to propel the Giants into the postseason. That will require at least one more big bat and there are plenty available either as cheap rentals or possibly as longer term acquisitions during the next month.
That could prompt ownership to open their wallets and tell Brian Sabean to make a move, provided it doesn't cost too much in terms of prospects and make a play in this wide open division.