It says a lot about how far A.J. Burnett has fallen that his throwing three perfect innings in an early March spring training game qualifies as news, but here we are.
Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger reports that Burnett threw 30 of 45 pitches for strikes yesterday and drew positive reviews from both catcher Russell Martin and manager Joe Girardi.
Girardi cited Burnett’s improved comfort level and mechanics, which were often out of sync as he went 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA in 33 starts last season. Or as Burnett put it afterward: “My mind is clearer. I’m not thinking about this and that. I’m just attacking.”
The Marlins designated utilityman Derek Dietrich for assignment, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. This comes amid a flurry of moves on Tuesday night as teams prepare their rosters ahead of the Rule 5 draft next month.
Dietrich, 29, is coming off another strong season in which he hit .265/.330/.421 with 16 home runs, 45 RBI, and 72 runs scored in 551 plate appearances. He played all over the diamond, spending most of his time in left field and at first base. Dietrich also played some second base, third base, and right field.
Dietrich is entering his third of four years of arbitration eligibility. He earned $2.9 million this past season and MLB Trade Rumors projects him to earn $4.8 million in 2019. Cutting Dietrich represents a bit more than 4 million in savings for the rebuilding and perennially small-market Marlins. Dietrich should draw some interest, so the Marlins could end up trading him rather soon.
Wonder how J.T. Realmuto, now the longest-tenured Marlin, is feeling right about now.