Scrapheap signing Pat Burrell gave the San Francisco Giants a huge boost during their run to a World Series title in 2010.
He was hitting just .202 with a .625 OPS when he was released just 24 games into the second season of a two-year, $16 million deal.
Meanwhile, the Giants had lost Opening Day left fielder Mark DeRosa to a season-ending wrist injury after he played just 26 games, leaving a hole in the lineup and in the outfield.
After hitting 251 home runs in nine seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Burrell was in his age-33 season and it looked like he might have come to the end of the line after the Rays released him.
With nothing to lose and a hole to fill, the Giants signed Burrell for a pro-rated portion of the league-minimum, and he immediately transformed their offense.
In 96 games, he hit .266/.364/.509 with 16 doubles, 18 home runs and 51 RBI in 341 plate appearances while batting mostly fourth and fifth in the lineup.
He went just 6-for-42 with one home run and four RBI in the playoffs, but it’s hard to imagine the Giants getting there without his contributions.
The Giants brought him back on a one-year, $1 million deal for his age-34 season and he posted a 115 OPS+ with nine doubles and seven home runs in 219 plate appearances in 92 games.
That wound up being the final season of his career, as he retired with 292 home runs and 976 RBI while racking up 18.9 WAR. He didn’t quite live up to the expectations that came with going No. 1 overall in the 1998 draft, but it was a solid career capped off by a game-changing run with the San Francisco Giants.
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