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Milton Bradley (Cubs), Pat Burrell (Rays) set outfield market

January 5, 2009 |  2:45 pm

In a game against the Angels in late August, Milton Bradley could only jump in frustration after striking out in the ninth inning against Francisco Rodriguez. Bradley is now a Cub. Finally, some movement in free agency: Pat Burrell agreed to a two-year, $16-million contract with the Tampa Bay Rays and Milton Bradley agreed to a three-year, $30-million contract with the Chicago Cubs.

That's $8 million per year for Burrell, who hit 33 home runs last season and has averaged 29 home runs in his eight full seasons. That's $10 million per year for Bradley, who led the American League in on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) last season.

That establishes something of a price range for Bobby Abreu, Garret Anderson, Adam Dunn, Jason Giambi in the first base/corner outfielder/designated hitter market.

Manny Ramirez will land above that price range, to be sure, with the Dodgers in pursuit, the Giants interested and the Mets quietly lurking to see how low the price might go.

And, in a winter in which the Yankees have been roundly criticized for spending more than $400 million on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira, they clearly made the right financial call on Abreu. They declined to offer Abreu arbitration, not wanting to risk a one-year contract at or near his 2008 salary of $16 million. Abreu will be fortunate to make half that, based on the current market.

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: In a game against the Angels in late August, Milton Bradley could only jump in frustration after striking out in the ninth inning against Francisco Rodriguez. Bradley is now a Cub. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Associated Press

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