In what is evidence of baseball being a funny game or the National League being way worse than the American League–or maybe both–Pat Burrell homered last night and is now 19-for-58 (.328) with four homers and three doubles for the Giants.
Burrell spent the first nine seasons of his career in the NL playing for the Phillies, posting an .852 OPS with an average of 30 homers and 95 RBIs per 150 games. He signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Rays last offseason, proceeded to hit .218 with 16 homers and a .672 OPS in 146 games, and was released last month.
Signed to a minor-league contract by San Francisco, he made a brief pit stop at Triple-A and quickly returned to the National League, where he’s currently sporting the highest OPS of his career while forcing his way into the Giants’ plans. In fact, if you simply pretend Burrell never set foot in the American League (something Rays fans would surely sign off on) here are his yearly OPS totals:
Burrell is earning the league minimum with the Giants, which is perhaps also evidence of life not being fair. Whatever the case, my advice for Hank Blalock is to sign with whichever NL team will have him.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.