The Tampa Bay Rays are putting up a fight in the American League East, and this afternoon they cut bait on a bad free agent signing.
Pat Burrell was designated for assignment to open a roster spot for veteran Hank Blalock to be called up from Triple-A Durham. Burrell was hitting just .202 with two home runs, this after hitting .221 with 14 homers last year.
The Rays signed Burrell last season and he’s owed $9 million this year. It’s hard to imagine anyone claiming him and that salary off waivers.
In Blalock, the Rays had an experience backup waiting for a call-up. Blalock was hitting .349 with four home runs in Triple-A, and he has a solid big league track record that includes 25 home runs last year with Texas.
With the Red Sox fighting to stay above .500, the more interesting two-game series next week might not be the Monday and Tuesday games against Boston, it might be the Wednesday and Thursday games against the Rays.