Burrell Appears To Be On The Block For The Rays

JC De La TorreAnalyst IIINovember 13, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 10:  Pat Burrell #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during batting practice prior to the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on August 10, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Rumors are flooding the Internet that the Rays are offering up Pat Burrell in trade talks. The Rays are desperate to part with the bad contract of Burrell, a major disappointment in the DH role for the team and are even willing to trade bad contracts to rid themselves of the much maligned player.

Burrell was an awful .221 at the plate with just 14 homers and 64 runs batted in. With limited athletic ability making him a liability in the outfield, Burrell's return on investment on his $9 million a year salary is very low.

Tampa Bay is focusing on solidifying their bullpen and finding some additional offensive help this off-season and have been connected to a deal for Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley.

Bradley also disappointed in Chicago, batting just .257 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI while alienating many in the organization. Rays Vice President Andrew Friedman believes that in Tampa Bay, Bradley will fit in a lot better.

"That was part of the premise behind us going after him last winter," Friedman told the Chicago Tribune , "It's well-documented that we did, and we felt like he would be a good fit for us at that point."

The problem is Bradley's $20 million dollar owed over the next two seasons. The Cubs aren't willing to take up more than $4 million of Bradley's salary and that could hurt the Rays flexibility in regards to structuring player salaries going forward.

Tampa Bay recently exercised an option on All-Star outfield Carl Crawford for $10 million dollars. It's unlikely that the Rays will be able to re-sign Crawford, who will likely command upwards of $16 million on the open market in 2011.

Adding Bradley could force the Rays hand in moving Crawford before the 2010 season starts and allow the financial flexibility to make some other moves.

If the Rays can get a taker for Burrell, but don't have to match salary, there's also talk they could have an interest in Yankees veteran slugger Hideki Matsui.

One thing appears to certain. If the Rays can find a partner, Pat Burrell has played his last game in Tampa Bay.