The San Francisco Giants are nearing a minor league deal with free agent outfielder Pat Burrell, 33, that would give the veteran two weeks to make good and earn a big league spot.
Ken Rosenthal reports for The Sporting News that the minor league contract would have a "quick out date," after the signing. If Burrell can get his swing back in the Giants
minor league system, he would be promoted to the big club after two weeks. There is, reportedly, no promise of him getting a starting job or even a promised number of at-bats per week.
If Burrell continues the drastic downhill slide that began when he left the Philadelphia Phillies
to sign as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays
in 2009, the Giants would release him at the end of the two weeks.
When a big league organization signs a player to a minor league contract, they are not obligated to place him on the 40-man roster. So, the Giants would acquire Burrell without the risk of removing a prospect from the 40-man roster. If the Giants were to sign a free agent to a major league deal, a member of the current 40-man roster would have to be released.
If a free agent on a minor league contract is called up to the big league club, then the organization is required to make room for him on the 40-man roster.
Burrell, a 10-year veteran from San Jose, starred for the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies World Series team. He is a lifetime .253 hitter with 267 homers. Burrell hit 92 home runs and drove in 314 runs in his final three seasons in the National League.
He signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Rays in January 2009, thus Tampa Bay still owes Burrell roughly $9 million.
Ted Sillanpaa is a Northern California sports writer and columnist. Reach Ted at: firstname.lastname@example.org