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.

Twins designate Phil Hughes for assignment

AP Photo/Ron Schwane
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Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.

Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.

Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.

Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.