Free Agent Stock Watch: Pat Burrell

Pat Burrell's stock reached a low on May 15th, when the Rays designated him for assignment.  The move showed that the team was willing to eat nearly $7MM to get Burrell off the roster.  He'd hit just .218/.311/.361 in 137 games as the team's designated hitter.

On May 29th, Burrell signed a minor league deal with the Giants.  After five games at Triple A, Burrell joined the big league club.  Since then he has a .272/.366/.510 line in 243 plate appearances – pretty much what the Rays expected when they signed him to a two-year, $16MM deal in January of 2009.  He has, however, faced lefties a disproportionate amount of the time.

Burrell may be reluctant to return to the American League and a designated hitter role in 2011.  That'll limit his market to National League clubs seeking a left fielder, as Burrell hasn't played first base in ten years.  And Burrell's reputation in left isn't stellar.  With about $70MM earned in his career, the slugger may focus more on playing time rather than guaranteed money for his next contract.  He might be available for less than $2MM guaranteed, plus plate appearance incentives.  Returning to the Giants will have to be at the top of his list, if they're interested.

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