Phillies: Pat Burrell still salty about not being re-signed?
Are there any hard feelings between the Phillies Wall of Famer and the former GM?
On Friday, Phillies fans were treated to a 46 minute Zoom reunion with players and coaches from the 2008 World Series team.
Leading the call was Brad Lidge with former manager Charlie Manuel and former bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer representing the rest of the coaching staff.
Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, Scott Eyre, Jayson Werth, and Pat Burrell also joined the reunion, creating a unique collection of homegrown talent and key additions that brought a championship to Philadelphia.
The reunion was fantastic and there were a couple of great stories from the championship parade and some inside jokes that got the guys going. They talked about the afterparty at Burrell’s place, how Utley asked if the championship parade speeches were live before he dropped an f-bomb, and reminisced about Burrell’s famous dog, Elvis, who graced the clubhouse and parade.
Utley talked about how no one could replace Elvis, which led to a quip from Burrell that sounded like he still had hard feelings over being replaced himself.
“It didn’t take Ruben (Amaro Jr.) long to replace me.”
Everyone cracked up and Lidge said something to the effect that it never was the same after Burrell was not brought back following the ’08 season.
Ruben Amaro Jr. took over as General Manager after now-Hall of Fame executive Pat Gillick retired. One of Amaro’s first moves as the Phillies GM was to not retain the franchise’s first (and then only) number one overall pick who was coming off a 33-home run season, the second-most in his career.
Burrell was 32-years-old and not a great defensive outfielder, but he was a leader who could still play.
Instead of re-signing Burrell, who would sign a two-year $16 million deal with Tampa, the Phillies signed 37-year-old Raul Ibanez to a three-year deal worth over $31 million.
Ibanez was a great guy with some power from the left-side of the plate, and he turned out more doubles than Burrell typically did.
The Phillies had lefty power with Utley and Howard, plus the switch-hitting Jimmy Rollins and Victorino. Burrell was the only everyday starter who didn’t return in 2009 when the team went back to the World Series.
Burrell got slowed up by injuries in Tampa Bay and had a short resurgance with the Giants in 2010, hitting 18 home runs in 96 days and winning a World Series. He played sparingly one more season before retiring.
So, is Burrell actually salty that he didn’t get a chance to finish his career with the team that drafted him number one overall and that he helped lead to a championship? Basically being kicked off an island you helped build can’t feel great.
At the time of his departure, Burrell was third on the Phillies all-time home run list and just eight behind tying Del Ennis for second. Both would later be surpassed by Ryan Howard, leaving Burrell fourth on the list with 251. Was Burrell aware he was close to the second place spot on the list and salty he couldn’t move up closer to Schmidt and cement himself among the all-time Phillies?
All of this is certainly possible, but we may never know. But, that quip from Burrell might have given us some insight into how one of the all-time great Phillies hitters really feels.