Tag:Pat Burrell
Posted on: March 18, 2011 5:48 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2011 5:49 pm

Could Brandon Belt open year with Giants?

BeltBy Evan Brunell

Last season, the Giants had an elite prospect who was clearly ready for the Show and was better than any of the other options to start at his position. And yet, even though GM Brian Sabean weakly issued denials, it was obvious upon this prospect's reassignment to Triple-A that finances came into play. The club wanted to wait until late May to ensure an extra year of free agency for this heralded prospect.

On May 29, Buster Posey finally hit the majors, wrestled the starting catcher's job away from Bengie Molina and led the team to a division title, requiring the last day of the season to clinch. We all know what happened after that -- a World Series title for the club and NL Rookie of the Year award for the backstop. Given what Posey contributed, it's likely that San Francisco would have won the division by more than one game, but hey, money saved.

A similar decision is at hand this spring, although unlikely the Posey decision, Sabean seems surprisingly open to having first baseman Brandon Belt -- ranked the No. 18 prospect on CBSSports.com's Top 100 Prospects list -- open the year with the big-league squad. 

"I think we're all more open-minded now because he's played a lot, and because of that, has faced front-line pitching," Sabean told the San Francisco Chronicle. "He's started a lot of games. It's not like he's coming in the second part of a game and not facing major-league pitching. With each day that he holds his own or excels, it turns your head."

Belt is currently hitting .283/.340/.522 in 46 at-bats. While spring training statistics aren't worth much, it's an encouraging line to see from the 23-year-old who mashed his way through three levels of the Giants' minor-league system in 2010.

But is it prudent to put Belt in the majors immediately? While the financial considerations of keeping Posey down last season were largely scoffed at given how much of a difference Posey could (and did) make, the same considerations aren't there for Belt. Incumbent first baseman Aubrey Huff is coming off a strong season, and while he could move to left field and bump Pat Burrell, Huff is a liability on defense. Belt himself has been playing around in left, but it's unlikely he can suddenly morph into an average fielder.

In addition, there are no shortage of candidates for two roster spots. While Belt could end up the best hitter of all, it's not clear at the outset that he can outhit Huff and Burrell. The team also has Aaron Rowand, Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz to worry about. Rowand has a hefty contract and is going nowhere, while both Ishikawa and Schierholtz have no minor-league options. The club has asked around on moving Ishikawa, but has received muted interest from other teams, while Schierholtz has drawn interest due to his defense and hitting left-handed -- the same reasons the Giants would prefer to hang onto him.

Sabean does say that the statuses of Rowand, Ishikawa and Schierholtz won't be major stumbling blocks -- rather, the decision will come down to what makes the Giants a better team.

"If Belt forces his way on, it would have to be legitimate, and we're all agreed he would be the seventh hitter," Sabean added. "The caveat is, there are high expectations and we certainly hope he'll be in a winning situation immediately. There's more pressure associated with that."

The financial considerations remain relevant, however, and Sabean's constant denials of those considerations for both Belt and Posey are odd. Also relevant is just how much better the team will be with Belt at first and Huff in left field. Will the defensive hit offset the offensive increase? That edge isn't really significant at this point, especially if Pat Burrell and/or Mark DeRosa produce.

Bet on Belt opening the year in the minors, but it won't be long before he's in San Francisco.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 

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Posted on: December 1, 2010 11:26 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2010 3:29 pm

Giants re-sign Burrell

Pat Burrell The Giants may have re-signed outfielder Pat Burrell, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News writes .

Baggarly writes it's a "discounted" one-year deal.

Burrell was released by the Rays in May after a horrible start (following a horrible 2009), Burrell signed with the Giants and jump-started his career. In 96 games with the Giants in the regular season, he hit .266/.364/.509 with 18 home runs and 51 RBI.

He struggled in the playoffs, managing just six hits in 42 at-bats and was 0-for-13 in the World Series, striking out 11 times, walking twice.

UPDATE: Burrell's deal is worth $1 million plus incentives, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter ). He apparently took less to stay in San francisco.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 11, 2010 4:29 pm

Braves looking for low-cost outfielders

Davis The Braves need an outfielder (if not more than one), and may target Pat Burrell to fill that void as MLB.com reports .

The problem is that Burrell may be too expensive for Atlanta, which is working with limited funds. With a desire to go after a right-handed hitter as the lineup is already deep in lefties, that limits the Braves' options -- but not completely.

Two names that Mark Bowman of MLB.com throws out there are Oakland's Rajai Davis and Washington's Josh Willingham.

Davis (pictured) looks to be squeezed out of Oakland thanks to the trade for David DeJesus, and it's possible that the A's could choose to simply nontender Davis, who stole 50 bases last season.

Davis could leadoff for the Braves with that kind of speed, but the problem is that Davis had a .320 OBP in 2010, down from 2009's .360.  Given Davis received a full season of at-bats in 2010 and only 390 in 2009, 2010 looks to be the more certain trend moving forward.

Alas, as Bowman notes, Atlanta's limited options and funds may require they acquire an outfielder that has a wart or two. With that in mind, Davis could work out nicely for Atlanta as someone who brings speed and who has a chance to revert back to his 2009 numbers of .305/.360/.423.

Davis is eligible for arbitration and figures to make over $2 million after playing for $1.35 million in 2010. The Braves could choose to sweat out Oakland and hope he is non-tendered when the arbitration deadline rolls around, but Davis remains cheap enough and valuable enough that some team would likely jump at the chance to acquire him in a trade.

Willingham, meanwhile, loves it in Washington and wants to stay, but the Nats may choose to deal him in advance of his pending free agency after 2011. Willingham would cost significantly more than Davis in a deal and has a reputation as an injury-prone player. However, Atlanta has seen plenty of Willingham thanks to his playing for Washington and previously, the Marlins and may want to import the slugger to do the damage to other teams for a change.

In free agency, right-handed bats that could fit include Jermaine Dye (who has already heard from three teams on returning to the bigs), Bill Hall, Marcus Thames, or even Magglio Ordonez.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 30, 2010 10:05 pm

Feliz sighting!

And here it is, photographic evidence that Ron Washington remembers Neftali Feliz is in fact in his bullpen:

Neftali Feliz

Feliz came in and pitched a perfect ninth, picking up his first postseason save in his first World Series appearance.

Granted, maybe he should've come in for the eighth in the highest-leverage situation, but Darren O'Day did get Buster Posey to end the eighth, so all's well that ends well.

Feliz struck out Pat Burrell (I know, shocker), got Cody Ross to fly out and then blew away Juan Uribe to end the game with a 99 mph fastball. He threw 13 pitches, 10 strikes.

Here were a few of my favorite (non-Chalupa) tweets of the night:

@MikeSilvermanBB : Righetti just told Mota he's embarrassing himself and the entire franchise walk Francoeur

@Ledger_NYMets : Neftali Feliz should change his name to Darren

@JPosnanski : They say the Masters begins on the back nine on Sunday. A Ron Washington managed game begins in the 8th inning.

@aandro : My assessment of why crowd seems quieter tonight. More corporate look. More rhinestudded jerseys means less real fans.

@Kevin_Goldstein : Ron Washington: "Who is this guy? Man I should use him more."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 26, 2010 1:32 am

Guillen not an option for Giants

Jose Guillen Not only is Jose Guillen not on the Giants' playoff roster, he's not even with the team, general manager Brian Sabean told the San Jose Mercury News ' Andrew Baggarly .

The Giants acquired Guillen in a trade with the Royals on Aug. 13, and Guillen played in 42 games for the Giants, hitting .266/.317/.375 with three home runs. He was not on the playoff roster in either of the first two series of the postseason.

Guillen would have been an option at designated hitter, but instead the Giants will likely use Pat Burrell and Pablo Sandoval.

• Another interesting note -- Barry Zito is officially the world's best-paid batting practice pitcher. Zito, who earned $18.5 million this season, threw live batting practice to Giants hitters on Monday.

• Bochy hinted that he'd likely keep Juan Uribe at third base and Edgar Renteria at shortstop against the Rangers.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 9, 2010 1:58 am

Burrell wants to stay by the bay

Pat Burrell Even if he returns as a bench player, Pat Burrell would like to return to the Giants next season.

"I came here from being on the couch doing nothing. It wasn't like my phone was ringing off the hook," Burrell told the San Francisco Chronicle 's Henry Schulman . "For me, I got a lot of appreciation for this club giving me a chance. I'd be thrilled if they wanted to have me back."

Tampa Bay released him in May. Burrell signed a two-year, $16 million contract before the 2009 season. After making more than $14 million in 2008, it seemed at the time the Rays made one of the better bargain signings of that offseason. Instead, Burrell struggled with the Rays.

In his first season, Burrell hit .221/.315/.367 with 14 home runs. This season he was off to another slow start, hitting .202/.292/.333 with two homers and 13 RBI when he was jettisoned by the Rays.

The Giants signed Burrell to a minor-league contract on May 29 and he was with the Giants the next week.

Since joining San Francisco, the Northern California native has hit .266/.370/.514 with 14 homers and 39 RBI in 222 at-bats.

The Giants not only have Aaron Rowand under contract for next season, but also Mark DeRosa, who is expected to return healthy. Cody Ross and Andres Torres are arbitration-eligible. Nate Schierholtz is under team control, as is Eugenio Velez, Prospect Brandon Belt (.352/.455/.620 with 23 home runs and 112 RBI in the minor leagues) is knocking down the door to the big leagues, as well. So while Burrell would like to come back, it might be tough to find a place to play him.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: August 17, 2010 11:53 am
Edited on: August 17, 2010 2:25 pm

Moms love Pat Burrell

Pat Burrell For a while, what most people knew about Pat Burrell was that he hated the nickname "Pat the Bat." He is infinitely more likable today because of two stories I read as the Giants and Burrell return to Philadelphia.

The first is from his Giants teammate Aubrey Huff from back when the two were at the University of Miami. The San Jose Mercury News ' Andrew Baggarly has this story :
"After two weeks at Miami, I wanted to go home," Huff said. "So my mom flies out, trying to convince me to stay. I was living with two seniors and they ragged me, too. I just didn't understand all this baseball ragging nonsense. She's in my room one night and I'm sitting on my bed and she's telling me to give it another two weeks.

"Anyway, there's a knock on the door, and before I can even get off the bed, Pat comes barging in with a six-pack in his hand, dripping wet, buck naked.

"So I jumped up and shut the door. Coming from Texas, these things didn't happen. I said, 'See what I'm dealing with here, Mom?'

"She just started laughing and said, 'Actually, Aubrey, that's pretty darn funny.
Burrell then gave his side of the story:

"Yeah, that's pretty much how it happened," he said. "I was looking for the shampoo. There wasn't any in the shower. Obviously, I didn't know his mom was in there."

Long pause.

"I don't know how the six-pack got in my hands."

Huff's mother wasn't available for comment, apparently, to add light on how Burrell got his nickname.

The second story comes from MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, with this story from Aug. 6 when Burrell's sacrifice fly beat gave the Giants a victory over the Braves in the 11th inning.
In fact, shortly after Burrell's sacrifice fly won the game in Atlanta, Phillies director of team travel and clubhouse services Frank Coppenbarger heard his phone buzzing next to his bed. Coppenbarger woke up and checked his phone to find a text message from Burrell:

"You're welcome."
Burrell was released by the Rays in June and has had a resurgence since, hitting .285/.378/.527 with 10 homers and 30 RBI for the Giants in 56 games. In 24 games with the Rays, he hit .202/.292/.333 with two home runs and 13 RBI.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: August 12, 2010 6:24 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 7:07 pm

Burrell comes up big -- again

Pat Burrell
Brian Sabean needs to send Pat Burrell a really nice Christmas present this year. And vice-versa.

Burrell is making the Giants' general manager look like a genius for pulling him off the scrap heap when he was released by the Rays in May. And with his new start in San Francisco, the 33-year-old outfielder is resurrecting his career.

Look at what Burrell has done in just the past week:

Last Friday: Game-winning, 11th-inning sacrifice fly

Monday: Game-winning, 11th-inning sacrifice fly

Wednesday: Go-ahead, eighth-inning solo homer

Thursday: Tiebreaking grand slam in the fifth inning (pictured, Burrell at right)

The Giants gave back all four of the runs from the grand slam and Andres Torres turned out to be the hero with a walkoff hit, but it looked like it was going to be four consecutive Giants wins in which Burrell had provided the definitive hit. Even with the bullpen breakdown Thursday, that's officially ridiculous.

Burrell's career looked to be on the ropes when the Rays, who signed him to a two-year, $16 million deal in 2009 after Burrell spent his first nine years in Philadelphia, cut him loose. Burrell batted .221 in his first full season in the American League and was at a miserable .202/.292/.333 when the Rays gave up on him May 15.

Sabean, desperate for a power hitter, snapped him up and signed him to a minor-league deal, and he was called up to the majors on June 4. Back in the National League, all he's done since is bat (entering Thursday) .293/.385/.520 with an OPS+ of 136.

And obviously he's shown he can come through in the clutch. That's something the Giants are happy to have as they chase the Padres in the NL West.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
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