The Philadelphia Phillies unceremoniously dumped Pat Burrell last week by not offering him arbitration and replacing his roster spot with Raul Ibanez. Ibanez has reportedly agreed to a three-year $31.5 million contract ($10.5 million/year) with the Phillies. The differences between Ibanez and Burrell are subtle: Ibanez will be 37 next year and is left-handed, while Burrell is 32 and right-handed. They are alike in that they are both poor-fielding outfielders with good bats, both with OPS+ consistently in the 120s during the past few seasons.
With Ibanez, the Phillies will get output similar to what Burrell gave the team. Given his age, injury may be a bit more likely for Ibabez, but I project their values to be close over the next three years. I project Ibanez to be worth $46.5 million ($14.5 million/year) and Burrell to be worth $48 million ($16 million/year) over this time span. I’m unsure of what Burrell was willing to work for, but Ibanez appears to have offered the Phillies a good deal. Burrell may be worth the $14 million he earned last season with the team, but I suspect he was a going to be more selective than Ibanez, who’s used to making about half the current annual salary of his new contract.
In any event, I think that Phillies fans should be pleased with this signing. Burrell is a valuable player and will likely land a contract with a bigger salary. The team gets to keep Burrell’s production but now has some budget flexibility to add roster depth.