Completing a comeback already far more successful than anyone would have anticipated, Sean Burroughs was called up by the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, putting him back in the majors for the first time in five years.
Burroughs, the former Little League World Series hero turned top prospect in the Padres system, showed next to nothing with the bat in a brief look with the Diamondbacks this spring, but he hit .386/.434/.571 in 27 games for Triple-A Reno after taking the field in mid-April. He was batting .426 with eight extra-base hits in 14 games this month.
Burroughs, a first-round pick in 1998, reached the majors in 2002 at age 21 and was a very solid regular in his first full season with San Diego, hitting .286/.352/.402 in 518 at-bats in 2003.
Unfortunately, that proved to be his high point. While he hit .298 in 2004, he had only 27 extra-base hits and 31 walks in 523 at-bats, leaving him with a subpar .713 OPS. He battled injuries throughout that year and in 2005, when he hit just .250/.318/.299 and spent a month in the minors. The Padres gave up on him after the season, trading him to the Rays for another famous bust, Dewon Brazelton.
Burroughs went on to play in just eight games for Tampa Bay in 2006, going 4-for-21. He signed a minor league deal with the Mariners the next winter, hurt his shoulder prior to the start of spring training, got released in June and then fell completely off the map for 3 1/2 years.
Now he’s back, though it remains to be seen if it will last. Burroughs was never a great defender at third, and he’s pretty much a singles hitter at the plate. Since he’s not a legitimate utilityman, he could have a difficult time sticking. Still, he’s always been able to put the bat on the ball. It wouldn’t be the most shocking thing if he ends up having a second career as a pinch-hitter.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.