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.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.