Thursday, December 02, 2010

Burrell Back for 2011

As reported (Baggarly and Schulman) Pat Burrell returned to the Giants today by signing a contract with them.  The amount was not immediately known, but I would guess that it is probably in the $2-3M range, as it was made clear that he was returning in a reduced bench role.

Mychal Urban tweeted that there were significant incentives.  Basically, this allows the Giants to sign Burrell to a relatively cheap contract, but should he end up playing significant time on the field, he'll be justly rewarded for being a significant contributor.  I wonder if such a contract with Uribe would have saved the relationship and mitigate the hard feelings that Uribe apparently harbored against Giants management when he ditched the Giants.

Giants Thoughts

Glad that I could believe his words!  He said he wanted to come back late in the season as a bench player, and now it has come to pass.  His role will be like in 2010:  he'll get some regular ABs off the bench, and if any of the regulars are struggling or injured, he's our ace in the hole to start and hopefully bring up production.

Meanwhile, he and his buddy Aubrey Huff can enjoy another season together on the same team, as they dreamed about long ago when they were in college together (or perhaps it was after both made the majors), but in any case, it was a shared wish on the part of both to spend some time together on the same team before they retire.  And how better now that they won a World Series championship together on Burrell's childhood team that hadn't won in, like, forever, and Huff had a great time?

Looks like the 25-man roster is relatively complete now.  The question is whether they will keep all their arb players or not, with Chris Ray and Mike Fontenot the two possible non-tenders, as speculated by the local reporters.  Ray was put on the bubble because he was not on the playoff roster, but I think that was more because he was out on the DL for a while, and the bullpen was pretty set and functioning well in September.  I think they will keep him.

Fontenot, however, I would bet on being gone because the Giants need a MI utility guy who can play SS competently should anything happen to Tejada.  Burriss is probably up for that job and Sabean likes his vets (now maybe people can appreciate the vets more) and will probably get one to compete with Burriss.  They will probably keep an eye out on the non-tenders of the other teams as well.  They did contact his agent, so perhaps they were kicking the tires to see if he would be willing to accept a certain amount, which they would be willing to carry, knowing they might have to drop it at some point.


  1. Dang we have so many outfielders. I like this move though. It's cheap, it's nice to have offense, and perhaps if we are lacking in an area midseason, we can trade him for something. I really like how pretty much everyone will be back next year (minus some Jazz). Still, it's nice to have so much depth in the outfield. I feel good again.

  2. Dang, I should have been brave and stuck with my $1-2M prediction. Ken Rosenthal tweeted that Burrell's deal is for $1M plus incentives.

    As I noted, Burrell had already set the bar low on coming back way back late in the season, I think August, that he wanted to come back and that he was willing to be a bench player.

    And he did the analysis well, the Giants budget was already pretty full, just accounting for just the raises in contracts plus expected raises in arbitration, put the payroll already at 2010 level (Huff pushed it way past that, Tejada even further) plus they had a number of options who might start in the OF, including his buddies Rowand and Huff. Pushing to be a starter could end up costing Rowand a chance to win a starting job in 2011 (and he will get a chance, Bochy is good about fresh starts each year, and, well, there is the money still) and in any case would require the Giants to up their budget in an area where they have a lot of options already.

    Well played hand, Sir Burrell, well played!

  3. Speaking of Rowand, I've been thinking about scenarios.

    Obviously, most of us think he'll go into the crapper at some point. He might win the starting job but inevitably he does either hurt himself or get into a horrible slump. That brings us to probably mid-season as a bench player again.

    Either he is the most tolerable person on Earth or he's going to wear out his "nice guy" mantle and start becoming a poison in the clubhouse. So the Giants would be faced with either trying to trade him or just releasing him.

    I think they'll go the trade route (like Livan, Alfonzo, and Benitez) and dump him with some money for either low prospects or another bad contract.

    By that point, he's "only" have 1.5 years left on his contract. There could be another big contract guy another team would want to dump (maybe Figgins or some other FA failure) as well. Phillies apparently still love Rowand, they might be willing to take on $5M or so of the remaining $18M and give us a very low prospect.

    Who knows, maybe he'll finally get into great shape (not mountain bike shape) and surprise us with a great season, I mean, damn, doesn't he have any pride? I would be so embarrassed earning so much money while playing so poorly. And getting beat out of a starting job by a journeyman minor league lifer (no offense to Andres!) has got to be the bottom.

    Like Pablo, Rowand needs a tough love speech from Bochy and Sabean. If he can hit like he did previously, that would solve so many offensive issues that our lineup has.

  4. And yes, Frank, I agree that this is a good move, I like the move too. He's there if we need him but inexpensive if not. He makes Huff happy (Aubrey hit .292/.391/.528/.919 after Burrell signed on 5/29; was hitting .284/.369/.451/.820 before).

    I don't see how they could trade him. If he's not playing, teams will be reluctant to trade for him. If he is playing, we need him ourselves. But maybe there is a chance of that if he's playing regularly though not as a starter.

  5. That scene of Huff and Burrell punching each other in the chest after, I think, Darren Ford scoring after running wild on the bases has to be one of the signature moments of last season.

  6. I have seen two separate reports now that Pat Burrell not only will have NO (zero, zilch) incentives in his contract (Tweet by Schulman and article by Urban) but that he also will be battling for a starting spot from the get go!

    It truly is a huge hometown discount intended clearly to help the Giants repeat as World Champions in 2011. Has anybody seen any such deal from another player, from any sport, ever?

    I mean, I've seen players shave a few million in order to enable their team to have more flexibility, but he's truly is taking a bench player's salary to be with his childhood team. He probably could get $7-9M with his production in 2010 (look at Huff and Tejada), so that is a pretty big discount (I saw someone note that he has made $70M in his career, so he's not destitute).

    That's just pretty amazing and heart-touching. I'm feeling a bit choked up about that.

  7. I disagree on Burrell's value on the open market. My take is that he pretty much knew that it was going to be the Giants or nobody else. You seem to forget that he has been pretty bad for about the last 3 years now. He had a nice stretch after the Giants picked him up in the middle of the season, but reverted back to the form that got him cut from the Rays by the time the playoffs rolled around.

    He just is not a comparable player to Huff & Tejada. Those guys are still quite productive. Burrell is just a bench player at this point and, really, not a very good one either. Usually from a bench player you want someone who is a contact hitter because a bulk of their ABs are going to be pinch hitting appearance. Also, you'd like that playe to be decent defensively which is not Burrell's forte either.

    I'm all for sentimentaltity, but I think you are overestimating Burrell's value here.

  8. Please, Boof, I'm hardly the sentimental type for a carpetbagging mercenary like Burrell, he was pretty good for us in 2010 and I appreciate it but I would hardly keep just for sentimental reason. A player has to be with us for a while for me to get sentimental over, and/or done something which I thought greatly touched me. On that end, I am sentimental over Renteria returning.

    I think you are the one who is missing something, and that is that Burrell was actually still pretty good in 2008, so he was not "pretty bad for about the last 3 years now." The aberration is not his hitting for us in 2010, but his bad hitting while playing for the Rays, from 2009 to early 2010.

    I think most teams would love to have a player who hit in the mid-to-high 800 OPS, even if his defense is a bit bad. Add on top of that the retaining of Huff and the eventual rise of Belt, you can limit his starts against SP who he has struggled against in the past and put a LHB against, and that would further boost up his overall batting line.

    I see him as a poor-man Barry Bonds, lacking the discipline to avoid strikeouts plus less power, but he can take walks, work the pitcher (Renteria credited Burrell for having an extended AB ahead of his HR and allowing Edgar to see the pitches and figure out how to hit him). He can be very useful to teams needing offense in LF and give up some defense.

    I think you are underestimating his value.

  9. Well, let me put it this way, if there were really teams out there that might have given him $6M-$7M, do you really think that he'd sign with the Giants for $1M?

    Don't tell me you really believe that? You just said yourself that he is a carpetbagging mercenary.

  10. Oh, to be clear, I don't feel that Burrell is a carpetbagger mercenary, I was just playing on what some complained about him/Giants. I've been wanting him to join the team since the first rumors that he wanted to join the Giants. And I'm glad he re-signed, particularly for such a low amount. No wonder Sabean took his time, Burrell did the deal by himself (saves on agent commission too!), according to this great article about the Burrell signing with great quotes from Pat:

    What he said touched me. Go Pat! Go Giants!



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