Review: Except for possibly Ryan Howard, there isn't a player on the Phillies that is under the microscope as much as Pat Burrell. At least on this blog, that is. So, I'm not going to spend alot of time rehashing Burrell's up and down season (is there any other way for Pat?). He walked a bunch, struck out a bunch, hit 30-or-so dingers, and sometimes played more than 7 innings. Then he hit two homers in the clinching game of the NLDS. Oh, and he hit a double that resulted in the winning run in Game 5 of the World Freaking Series. All in all, he had a pretty good year.
Memorable Moment: Thank you, "ripjgarcia."
Preview: Burrell is currently in position 188 on the all time homer list, tied with Tony Armas, Robin Yount, and former Phil Cy Williams. In 2009, Burrell will most likely pass John Olerud, Todd Zeile and Tim Wallach among other, but he probably won't be doing it as a Phillie.
Pat was the highest paid player on the team last year ($14 million). The first offer this off-season reportedly was two years and $22 million. The Phils know many players are due for pay raises and may try to lock up some of their younger stars (Howard, Hamels) so Burrell shouldn't expect a much larger offer from the club. I think the Phils will be willing to downgrade in left to keep and pay their young big stars. Burrell could give the Phils a "hometown" discount but there are plenty of teams that need a right handed power bat (especially those in the AL that can put Pat in the DH spot part of the time) that will offer him a better, longer deal.
I hate to do it because Burrell has been my favorite Phillie since his rookie year, but I have to start thinking about who will be replacing Burrell in the outfield next year. Some possibilities...
Rocco Baldelli - free agent - "Cheap potential." That's how the Phils may be looking at Baldelli and it is the reason he may be one of the leading free agent candidates to replace Burrell. No one knows if Baldelli can return to the form he exhibited before being diagnosed with a "medical condition" that limited most of his 2008 season and threatens to shorten or end his career. If he could, he would be the biggest steal since the Reds got Josh Hamilton in the Rule 5. If he doesn't, he could be the biggest waste of time since Danny Tartabull.
Magglio Ordonez - trade candidate - This is a money issue for Detroit. He's due $18 million in 2009 and if the Tigers don't think they can compete for the Central Division, they may want to dump him. Of course, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski had this to say this week; "We're not looking to trade Magglio. He's one of the best hitters in baseball and an important part of our club."
A more likely scenario has Ordonez being traded close to the deadline to a contender when the Tigers are out of it. So, I would scratch Ordonez off the Phils' list, but do it in pencil, because he may be back on the list next July.
Jermaine Dye - trade candidate - The Phils have not been shy recently about dealing with the White Sox (Jim Thome, Freddy Garcia) and I really think this is rumor that has some legs. If the Sox are willing to deal Dye, he fits what the Phils need. He's older and lacks Pat's lusty walk rate, but he is a righthanded power bat that can protect Howard. He will also come at a reduced rate and time commitment ($11 million in 2009 with a $12 million option in 2010). The Phils would also get draft picks for Burrell leaving, so a deal like Dye + draft picks for a combination of Kendrick, Happ, Golson, Bastardo, d'Arnaud, etc. could really benefit the Fightins.
Bobby Abreu - free agent - The Yankees just traded for Nick Swisher, who will be used mainly as a first baseman, but should also see some time in the outfield along with Johhny Damon, Melky Cabrera, Hideki Matsui and Xavier Nady. Considering the money the Yanks are likely to throw at Sabathia/Lowe/Burnett, they may not be willing to give too much for the diminishing skills of Abreu. Abreu can't field worth a shit, he doesn't hit for power, and he would likely cost as much as Burrell. But the Phillies have done dumber things...
Juan Rivera - free agent - Before Rivera missed most of the 2007 season with a broken leg, he was turning into a fine outfielder. He hit for average and power and was an above-average fielder. But a missed season in '07 was followed by a sub-par 2008 (.246-12-45). Like Baldelli, taking a risk on Rivera could result in an absolute steal. A return to .280-20-80 isn't that much of a stretch. Of course, another year of hittig .240 isn't a stretch either.
Raul Ibanez - free agent - This guy is the captain of the "All Underappreciated Team." He's been a lock for .290-20-100 this whole decade, yet he only made $5 million bucks last year. The Phils don't need another lefty, certainly not one that is only a few years younger than Jamie Moyer. He'll sign with Chicago or New York.
Milton Bradley - free agent - Milton Bradley is a dick. But he can hit like a mutha. And except for that time when he tried to go after one of the KC Royals' television announcers, he had an uneventful 2008 season. Besides his emotional stability, the other concern on Bradley is that he only played 19 games in the outfield last season after his famous ACL injury. He may have to stick in the AL where he can DH part time. Sill, I know it wouldn't be a popular thing (I can picture the litany of blogs and comments crying about team chemistry...) but the Phils should at least consider bringing Bradley in based on his offensive ability and the vast contributions he would make to Phillies blogs...
Jay Payton - free agent - Please, God, no.
Jerry Hairston - free agent - See above.