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Grass is always greener...

And it looks like if you want it, you have to pay big bucks for it.  We have already analyzed the value of Soriano, but it appears that no amount of logic will keep this team from doing the smart thing.  It is pretty sad that we have to hope that the Phils win despite management and not because of it.

Right now it is coming down to Soriano versus
Burrell (whom it appears we will trade while picking up some salary for nothing more than an average middle reliever.  Color me shocked).  Why must the Phillies (and thier phans for the most part) hate who we have here and love players that aren't even better that are somewhere else?  Is there something in the water?  Cheesesteaks maybe?  Who knows, but that alone deserves a book dedicated to it.

Let's look at the difference between the two possible left fielders for the Philadelphia Phillies.  One which will cost us 27 million for the next two years while the other will cost us up to 100 million over 6 years.  Both players were born in 1976 (makes me wonder what I have done with my life), so they are on equal footing agewise.

Career Stats:
Pat Burrell:  .258 BA .362 OBP .479 SLG .841 OPS 18.76 HR/AB

Alfonso Soriano: .280 BA .325 OBP .510 SLG .835 OPS 18.75 HR/AB

Soriano leads in batting average and SLG while Burrell leads in OBP and OPS.  The main difference between their SLGs is Soriano's BA.  Pat has had 911 hits and 569 walks (1480 hits + walks) while Soriano has had 1091 hits and 224 walks (1315 hits + walks).  While a hit is more valuable than a walk, are 180 hits more valuable than 165 more times on base?  I'd have to say no considering they homer at EXACLTY the same rate.

Advantage: Pat Burrell

Splits over the last 3 years:
Pat Burrell:

Home: .281 BA .404 OBP .524 SLG .928 OPS
Away: .252 BA .359 OBP .454 SLG .813 OPS

Alfonso Soriano:

Home:  .297 BA .354 OBP .582 SLG .936 OPS
Away:  .254 BA .304 OBP .460 SLG .764 OPS

Both have similiar home numbers, but Pat has a decide edge on away numbers.  And before people complain that Soriano had to play in Seattle and Oakland the previous two years, Pat has played in Florida and Atlanta AND Washington.  Plus, Soriano played at the CBP last year while Pat did not (in terms of road games).

Advantage Pat Burrell.

Let's now look at the three year splits that people KILL Burrell on.

Last three years:
Pat Burrell:
RISP: .269 BA .400 OBP .447 SLG .847 OPS (465 ABs and 19 homers)
Close and Late: .239 BA .387 OBP .414 SLG .801 OPS (222 ABs and 9 homers)
RISP w/2 outs: .257 BA .411 OBP .491 SLG .902 OPS (226 ABs and 14 homers)

Alfonso Soriano:
RISP: .240 .326 .441 .767 (429 ABs 18 homers)
Close and Late: .261 .342 .425 .767 (261 ABs and 9 homers)
RISP w/2 outs: .194 .286 .382 .668 (217 ABs and 9 homers)

Pat has better numbers ACROSS the board and significantly with RISP w/2 outs despite his awful year last year (Soriano was almost as bad).  Homers per ABs were pretty much equal or favoring Pat in most "clutch" (I hate that friggin term) scenarios.  Soriano is absolutely AWFUL with RISP w/2 outs.  Granted, 217 ABs isn't a lot, but it is much more than 78 that Pat had least year that people want to kill him on.  

Advantage: Pat Burrell.

Soriano definitely has one major advantage over Burrell and that is speed.  And it isn't even close.

Pat Burrell:

2 SBs with 0 CS (for a perfect 100% mind you)

Alfonso Soriano:

89 SB with 24 CS (for a decent 79%)

Advantage: Alfonso Soriano

The last real aspect to look at is defense.  Both aren't great, but Soriano might get a bigger hit than he deservers.  Pat had a better fielding percentage (means little), but Soriano leads the league in range factor.  That appears to be a speed and space issue though, but it is props in Soriano's hat.  Soriano also lead the league in assists (by a large margin), but that statistic might just mean that people ran on him much more than any other player.  Pat appears to have the better arm, but I will give the slight edge to Soriano.

Advantage: Soriano

What we see here is that Pat has a significant advantage in patience while Soriano has a significant advantage with speed.  Speed can definitely help if used correctly (see how Juan Pierre shows the inverse), but patience can help the entire team overall.  More pitches seen, more thrown by the pitcher and more times on base.  While Soriano has a few more homeruns than Pat Burrell, they were also hit with significantly more plate appearances.  Neither player is a stud in "clutch" situations except, Pat has excelled with runners in scoring position and 2 outs over the last three years (which I want to reiterate is exactly why people want to trade him).  

The real issue here isn't the next two years.  They may put up similar numbers in their 31 and 32 year old seasons (actually 30 and 31 for Pat), but it is the next 3-4 years after that.  Soriano might make about 7 or 8 mil more than Pat over the next 2 years, and while significant, it is nothing I'd complain about.  It is the last 3 or 4 years of his contract that will absolutely kill this team, and in what will likely be his declining years.  As Soriano gets older, he will definitely lose speed.  How much power is he likely to attaint to make up for it?  He isn't a big guy, so, most of his power is derived from his quick bat.  That is likely going to slow down as well.  The huge advantage for Pat Burrell here is that his most likely declining years will not cost this team a penny while Soriano's will be crushing the Phillies into the next decade.  

Patience and strength tend to stay around a lot more than speed and a quick bat.  We'll look back on it in 5 years, but Pat Burrell will likely have a better next 5 years compared to Soriano.