Monday, January 5, 2009

Full Reaction: Rays best free agent signing that involved lots of money

The Rays have a made a move that hasn't been made since the "Hit Show". The Rays have signed free agent outfielder Pat Burrell to a two-year deal worth $16 million to become the primary DH. Burrell had least amount of risk of any big bat free agent because of his consistency over the past 9 seasons. Burrell is a leftfielder, which is currently occupied by the best LF Carl Crawford, so Burrell will primarily play at rightfield when not DHing.

An interesting note made by Marc Topkin is that this may open up to a re-signing of free agent Rocco Baldelli to be the fourth outfielder and to DH. If the Rays do get Burrell and Baldelli, this may be a sign from the front office that they prefer not have any sort of platoon this season. This makes it easier for them to know they have a regular starter at DH and rightfield and have no need to look for an upgrade all the time. The Rays may have to get rid of Gross as soon as they believe Matt Joyce is ready. Joyce would then start in right and Burrell will DH with Rocco as the backup to both positions.

This deal is money well spent, Burrell in his prime now will hit behind speedsters Crawford and Upton and up and coming power hitters in Longoria and Pena. Expect Burrell to drive in over 110 runs and provide much needed offense against left handed pitching. This lineup is now stacked with great hitters and may be the Rays best lineup for a long time.

An updated 25-man roster projection later on this week.  

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