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A Big Day for B's: Bradley and Burrell Sign

Time to re-jigger those AL East rankings: the Rays are adding another bat, and it's a pretty big one. After weighing his options, outfielder Pat Burrell, late of the defending champion Phillies, signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the team he helped beat in the World Series, the Rays, to be their new designated hitter.

ESPN's Buster Olney broke the signing after FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal claimed it was close to completion hours earlier. According to Olney, Burrell expects to be the team's primary designated hitter, though he could play outfield depending on the team's health and progress shown by some of Tampa Bay's minor league prospects (of which there are quite a few).

It's a big signing not only because it proves the Rays are willing to spend money to help their lineup produce the way it did last year, but also because it may be the first domino in what could be a string of outfielder's agreeing to contracts.

In fact, that belief proved true just hours later, when the Nationals officially missed out on Milton Bradley, who agreed to a three-year deal with the Cubs. According to Rosenthal, the deal is for $30 million but includes language in the form of options which could make it richer.

The Nationals had made a late push for Bradley at the end of last week, but the Cubs were considered the front runners to sign the former Ranger, Dodger, Athletic, Padre and, well, you get the picture; the guy's played for a lot of teams.

For the Cubs, Bradley -- who is a switch hitter -- represents the left-handed bat that GM Jim Hendry craved for his lineup, which was criticized repeatedly last year for being too dependent on slugging right-handed bats. Still, because the Cubs are close to a change in ownership via a sale from the bankrupt Tribune Company, the team has to maintain a payroll that is relatively close to its operating budget in 2008. That's why the Cubs are shopping starting pitcher Jason Marquis, with the Rockies reportedly close to acquiring the longtime NL Central starter (he pitched for the Cardinals before the Cubs) for reliever Luis Vizcaino. MLB.com's Carrie Muskat is reporting that the deal could be finalized as early as Tuesday.

So much for the slow crawl of the Hot Stove, huh? There's more to be said about Burrell's and Bradley's deals, and how they affect the outfielder market as a whole, and the Nationals' pursuit of Adam Dunn in particular. Hopefully we'll have more on that later.

Until then, enjoy the Hoyas and the Fiesta Bowl. There's no certifying the GMAC Bowl as a legitimate exercise in college football supremacy, so this is one of your final two shots of the season.

By Cameron Smith  |  January 5, 2009; 7:37 PM ET
Categories:  Cubs , Nationals , Rays , Rockies  
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Comments

I haven't heard much else on the topic...what other options did Burrell have? Were any other teams interested in his services?

Sadly, I think the Phils made a big mistake by letting him walk and signing the lefty, Ibanez.

Posted by: PhilliesPhan | January 6, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

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