It’s been a minute since Billy Burns was at the top of his game. The 2015 Rookie of the Year nominee hasn’t appeared in a major league game since the middle of the 2017 season, but a promising surge in Triple-A last year seems to have caught the eye of at least one major-league team this winter. Per reports from Brandon Warne of Zone Coverage and Fancred’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees inked the veteran outfielder to yet another minors pact for 2019.
Burns, 29, spent the entirety of his 2018 run with the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate, slashing a respectable, if underwhelming .255/.314/.316 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 18 chances), and 36 RBI through 425 plate appearances. While he’s not all that far removed from his .294-average, 26-stolen base totals with the A’s, there’s nothing to suggest that he’s capable of supplanting any member of the Yankees’ starting outfield trio of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and Aaron in 2019 (with Brett Gardner and Clint Frazier waiting in the wings if Stanton is utilized at DH). At best, he’ll provide the club with some solid minors depth and a serviceable pinch-running option, should they choose to recall him from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at any point during the season.
Beyond the outfield, the rest of the Yankees’ roster is still up for revision. GM Brian Cashman said Friday that recently-acquired shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will start for the team in 2019, suggesting that any plans they might have to acquire free agent Manny Machado would see the star infielder shifted to third base. Sans Machado, the Yankees are expected to fill out the remaining gaps in their infield with Miguel Andújar at the hot corner, Gleyber Torres at the keystone, and Luke Voit at first base.