ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tampa Bay Rays have signed veteran right-handed hitting outfielder Pat Burrell to a two-year deal. He will donate a portion of his contract to the Rays Baseball Foundation, the official charity of the Rays.
Burrell (pronounced BURL), 32, had spent his entire professional career with the Philadelphia Phillies after being selected as the first overall pick in the 1998 amateur draft from the University of Miami. He reached the majors in May 2000 and has averaged 28 home runs, 92 RBI, 87 walks and a .367 on-base percentage over his nine-year big league career. The last four seasons he averaged 31 homers, 99 RBI and 103 walks, and his 413 walks over that span are second in the majors behind Adam Dunn's 449. In addition he has averaged nearly 150 games a season since 2001, his first full major league campaign.
His 251 career home runs are third most in Phillies history behind Mike Schmidt (548) and Del Ennis (259). He also ranks fifth on the club's all-time list in walks (785) and seventh in RBI (827). He hit better than 30 home runs on four occasions, with a career-high 37 in 2002. He has topped 100 RBI twice (117 in 2005, 116 in '02).
He is one of six major league players to hit 20 or more home runs in each of the last eight seasons, joining Carlos Delgado, Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez.
His 86 outfield assists are tied with former teammate Bobby Abreu for second most this decade behind Guerrero (91). Burrell batted .250 last season with 33 doubles, 33 home runs, 86 RBI and 102 walks (3rd in National League) in a career-high-tying 157 games for the World Champions. He also tied for second in the N.L. with 16 game-winning RBI. He was named Most Outstanding Player in the 1996 College World Series, and in 1998 he received the Golden Spikes Award as the nation's top amateur player.
He and wife, Michelle, reside in Clearwater, Fla.
Like the player, love the years and dollars. Is this our final offseason move (other than minor league free agents)? Another bullpen arm maybe? And what were the Phillies thinking giving more years and dollars to Ibanez, who is older and at least as bad defensively?