After Tampa Bay handed Pat Burrell his walking papers earlier this week, he became the latest aging slugger to be named as the new must have item for our San Diego Padres. Here are a couple of reasons why that would not be a good idea:
1. He can’t hit
This seems obvious enough. If you can’t hack it as a DH in the American League (obviously) in a neutral-to-slightly-pitcher’s park (.970 PF since 09), you’re probably not a good hitter. During his time in Tampa Bay, Pat’s bat was worth -0.8 wins, and that was with him playing a total of nine innings in the field. Speaking of which…
2. He can’t field
On his career, in almost 10,000 innings, Burrell has a UZR of -44.6 and a UZR/150 of -7.8. That’s not quite Jermaine Dye, not even close really, but it’s still bad. And who’s to say how he’ll handle playing in Petco. Or how he’ll handle playing the outfield after taking the last year and a half off.
There is the idea that despite all of this, we should take a waiver on Burrell because Why not? With Tampa Bay left footing the bill on the remainder of Burrell’s $16 million contract, he could be had for as little as $300 thousand. But would Burrell really sign for that little? More to the point, would Burrell sign for that little to play on the Padres, in a ballpark that will almost assuredly torpedo the little value he has left going into free agency?
Now, in reasons why he might be a good idea, It should be noted that it’s not unusual for a player to just be unable to make things work going from one league to the next. Edgar Renteria was an All-Star for the Cardinals before signing and failing with the Red Sox*. The next year, he was back in the NL, in Atlanta, back to his old ways. Two years after that, he was traded back to the AL, to Detroit, where the wheels fell back off. These things happen, and it’s possible that Burrell is just an NL-kinda guy.
Also, Burrell doesn’t have to start to be of use to this team. Age (or whatever it is) has caught up with Matt Stairs and fast, so the Padres could find themselves in the market for a new aging slugger who can come off the bench and hit the ball over the fence. Last season, Jason Giambi’s reunion with the Oakland A’s was cut short, leading him to sign with Colorado on a minor league deal. He rewarded the Rockies with a 162 OPS+. If Burrell was willing to do something like this, especially the minor league contract part, what could it hurt to check him out?
*It should be noted that Renteria’s reputation in St. Louis was blown out of proportion and his bad season in Boston wasn’t much worse than some of the ones he had in STL. But this is baseball, so Shhhhh.