Are the Phillies a better team without Burrell?

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Mark Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times writes that the Phillies say they are a better team without Pat Burrell, however his former teammates steer clear of actually saying that.



“I can’t say it’s the right move,” (Jimmy) Rollins said. “It’s not a wrong move. It was really just a business decision.”



“That’s probably not a fair question,” rightfielder Jayson Werth said.
“Pat always will be missed around here, but, that said, we made a great
addition with Raul Ibanez. He filled a great void not only in leftfield
but in the clubhouse.”




General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. took
some criticism when he signed Ibanez to a three-year, $31.5 million
contract last December, but the 37-year-old outfielder responded by
batting .272/.347/.552 with a career-high 34 homers to go along with 93
RBI. Meanwhile, Burrell, who signed a two-year, $16 million contact
with the Rays, struggled with a neck condition, batting just
.221/.315/.367 with 14 home runs and 62 RBI.




Ibanez was a legitimate MVP
candidate in the first-half, but after the All-Star break, he and
Burrell were below average offensively:




Ibanez: .232/.326/.448 with 12 home runs, 33 RBI and a .774 OPS



Burrell: .212/.292/.383 with 10 home runs, 36 RBI and a .675 OPS



There’s no way to know how the
Ibanez contract will look this time next year, as he continues to age,
but for now, it looks like Amaro made the right move.




Ibanez is batting .226/.333/.387 with one home run and nine RBI in his first postseason appearance since 2000.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.