Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell was awesome in July and August of last year. Outside of that, he was just decent. He’s off to a blazing start in his first 14 games of 2008. He turns 32 in October and can explore free agency after the season.
Burrell is earning $14MM this year. Which players might serve as comparables for Burrell’s next deal? Carlos Lee is similar, though he was a few years younger when he reached free agency in ’06. Lee received $16.6MM per year for six years. Burrell could be compared to Alfonso Soriano, who received an even bigger contract. Hideki Matsui‘s average annual salary of $13MM seems like the floor for Burrell. If he has a typical Burrell year, I expect him to want something in the range of four years and $60MM (similar to Travis Hafner‘s current deal).
The Tigers, Mariners, Rangers, Braves, Mets, Reds, Padres, and Giants are teams that may have left field vacancies after the season. The Rays could have room at DH. If first base becomes an option, even more teams enter the mix. The Phillies haven’t ruled out bringing him back and he’d love to re-sign. Burrell will face competition from Mark Teixeira, Adam Dunn, Raul Ibanez, Bobby Abreu, and perhaps Manny Ramirez.