Jared Burton Rumors

Minor Moves: Burton, Blanton, Boscan, Mitchell

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league, with the most recent at the top.

  • the Yankees have released righty Jared Burton, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweets. Burton, formerly a regular in the Reds and Twins bullpens, has made a handful of appearances for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season. The Yankees originally signed Burton to a minor-league deal with a series of opt-out dates, and they already released and re-signed him in March, so perhaps it’s not out of the question that they could re-sign him yet again.
  • The Royals have announced that they’ve selected the contract of veteran righty Joe Blanton. Blanton had an opt-out opportunity yesterday on his minor-league deal. He had been pitching for Triple-A Omaha, where he posted a 3.89 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 39 1/3 innings. The longtime Athletics and Phillies starter last appeared in the big leagues in 2013, when he posted a 6.04 ERA in 132 2/3 innings with the Angels. Blanton will work in long relief, as MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets. The Royals also announced that they optioned righty Aaron Brooks to Omaha and placed lefty Brian Flynn on the 60-day disabled list.
  • The Pirates have selected the contract of righty Wilfredo Boscan, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets. They also optioned utilityman Steve Lombardozzi to Triple-A Indianapolis and moved righty Brandon Cumpton to the 60-day disabled list. Boscan will, presumably, help the Pirates’ bullpen after yesterday’s 11-10 extra-inning loss, which required the Bucs to throw 261 pitches. The 25-year-old Boscan has a 2.87 ERA, 5.7 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 31 1/3 innings at Triple-A Indianapolis this season. He has never pitched in the Majors.
  • The Angels have signed outfield Jared Mitchell and assigned him to the Double-A Arkansas Travelers, the Travelers have announced. The White Sox released Mitchell, a 2009 first-round pick, earlier this month. The 26-year-old has hit .226/.334/.381 in parts of six seasons in the minor leagues.
  • The Phillies have acquired infielder Jayson Nix from the Orioles for cash considerations, the teams have announced. Nix will head to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 32-year-old was hitting .167/.190/.198 in 100 plate appearances for Triple-A Norfolk, and he struggled in brief stints in the big leagues last year with the Phillies, Pirates and Royals. In parts of seven seasons in the Majors, he’s hit .212/.282/.345. The move gives the Phillies infield depth after the recent promotion of Maikel Franco and their decision to have Cody Asche transition to playing outfield.
  • The Rays have signed former Pirates pitching prospect Kyle McPherson, Steve Kinsella of DRaysBay tweets. McPherson pitched 26 1/3 strong innings with the Bucs in 2012 after posting a 3.22 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and an extremely stingy 1.2 BB/9 in 67 innings in the high minors that year, but he had Tommy John surgery in 2013 and another elbow injury last season. He became a minor-league free agent last fall.

Minor Moves: Burton, Garner, Toles

Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:

  • Three days after releasing him, the Yankees have signed right-hander Jared Burton to a minor league deal, reports Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Burton was an Article XX(B) free agent, so the release/re-signing allows the Yankees to avoid paying the reliever a $100K retention bonus to remain in the organization.
  • The Phillies have released their 2010 second-round pick right-hander Perci Garner, tweets CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. Garner never advanced beyond Double-A and compiled a mark of 4.50 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 5.1 BB/9 during 87 appearances (73 starts) in his five seasons in the Philadelphia organization.
  • The Rays have released outfielder Andrew Toles, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Toles, the Rays’ 2013 minor league player of the year, posted a line of .261/.302/.337 in 218 plate appearances last year at Class A-Advanced Charlotte despite missing two months for personal reasons. The 22-year-old was a third-round selection of the Rays in the 2012 draft.

Yankees Release Jared Burton

The Yankees announced that they’ve released right-hander Jared Burton from his minor league contract. The former Twins and Reds setup man had been vying for a spot in the club’s bullpen and pitched well, throwing four scoreless innings with just two hits and no walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts. Presumably, the 33-year-old righty will look for an opportunity with a club that has a clearer path to a spot in the bullpen.

After enjoying strong seasons in 2012-13 with the Twins (particularly in 2012), Burton’s K/9 rate dipped to 6.5, and his BB/9 rate ticked up to 3.5. Meanwhile, his ground-ball rate (38.5 percent) and fastball velocity deteriorated (92.9 mph in 2012; 91.5 in 2014). However, Burton still possesses an effective split-finger changeup (which he’s termed a “splangeup” in the past) that has been his best pitch in recent years. If he can rediscover some of his fastball effectiveness and/or some of his control, he could again re-emerge as a successful bullpen arm in a big league bullpen.



Yankees Sign Jared Burton To Minor League Deal

FEB. 20: Burton’s contract contains four opt-out dates, and his incentives, which are based on appearances, kick in when the right-hander pitches in his 20th game, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (All Twitter links). Burton will receive $30K bonus for appearing in his 20th game, and he’ll earn an additional bonus that increases by $10K for every five games from that point forward. His final bonus will be worth $120K and come at 65 games. Burton can opt out on March 31, June 1, Aug. 1 and Aug. 31.

FEB. 17: Burton will earn $2MM if he is in the big leagues, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. The deal also comes with $750K in available incentives.

FEB. 16: The Yankees announced that they have signed right-hander Jared Burton to a minor league contract and invited the former Twins/Reds setup man to Major League Spring Training. Burton is a client of Pro Agents, Inc.’s Dave Pepe.

Burton, who turns 34 in June, latched on with the Twins on a minor league deal following a shoulder injury that cut his Reds career short. (The presence of former Reds GM Wayne Krvisky in the Twins’ front office likely played a role in that move.) With Minnesota, Burton revived his career, working to an excellent 2.18 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 48.5 percent ground-ball rate in 62 innings in 2012. That strong performance netted him a two-year, $5.5MM extension with the Twins.

Minnesota paid a $200K buyout on Burton’s $3.6MM option for the 2015 season after Burton took a notable step backward this past season. Burton’s K/9 rate dipped to 6.5, and his BB/9 rate ticked up to 3.5 all while his ground-ball rate (38.5 percent) and fastball velocity deteriorated (92.9 mph in 2012; 91.5 in 2014). However, Burton still possesses an effective split-finger changeup (which he’s termed a “splangeup” in the past) that has been his best pitch in recent years. If he can rediscover some of his fastball effectiveness and/or some of his control, he could re-emerge as a useful bullpen arm for the second time in his career.

Burton’s been a durable arm for Minnesota since returning from injury, averaging 64 innings and 68 total appearances over his three-year stint there. Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, David Carpenter and Justin Wilson are all locks for the New York ‘pen, and they’ll likely be joined by Esmil Rogers and Adam Warren. Burton will compete with pitchers such as Chasen Shreve, Andrew Bailey and Jose De Paula for a slot in manager Joe Girardi’s relief corps.


AL Central Notes: Aviles, Soria, Burton

As the Royals look to even the score in the World Series against the Giants, other teams in the division are shifting their focus to the offseason. Here are a few notes from the AL Central…

  • The Indians are expected to exercise their $3.5MM club option on Mike Aviles rather than pay him a $250K buyout, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Indians could have reasonably gone either way, as the team has some limited financial flexibility (a topic I highlighted in yesterday’s Offseason Outlook). It appears that his versatility will earn him a spot on the 2015 club. The 33-year-old batted .247/.273/.343 in 374 plate appearances with Cleveland last year.
  • MLB.com’s Jason Beck spoke with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, and while the GM didn’t specifically say that the team would exercise its $7MM club option on Joakim Soria, he certainly implied as much with his comments: “We still have to make the final decision, but it’s a situation where we look at him as being an important acquisition toward this [coming] year also.” Dombrowski said that the team views Joe Nathan as its closer next season, though he indicated that Nathan will have to perform up to his previous capabilities in order to hold onto that role.
  • The Twins declined their $3.6MM option on Jared Burton earlier today, and Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets that the team hasn’t expressed an interest in bringing the 33-year-old back, even at a lower rate.

Twins Decline Jared Burton’s Option

The Twins have declined their $3.6MM club option on right-hander Jared Burton, director of communications Dustin Morse announced (on Twitter). Burton will receive a $200K buyout and hit the open market this winter.

Burton, 33, came to the Twins prior to the 2012 season on a minor league deal after shoulder surgery had temporarily derailed his career with Cincinnati. (The return of former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky to the Minnesota front office may have had something to do with the team’s interest.) Burton proved to be an excellent find for the Twins in 2012, as he pitched to a 2.18 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 over 62 innings in in his first year with the team. That performance netted him a two-year, $5.45MM extension, which included this option.

Burton’s performance has tailed off over the past two seasons, though he was still solid in 2013, compiling a 3.82 ERA (3.61 FIP) with 8.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 66 innings. This season, he got off to a dreadful start to his 2014 campaign, but he did recover to post a 3.41 ERA over his final four months, with the end result being a 4.36 mark.

Overall, Burton spent three seasons with the Twins, totaling a 3.47 ERA with 7.6 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 10 saves in 203 appearances (192 innings).


Quick Hits: Delgado, Top Prospects, Byrd, Relievers

The Blue Jays will add Carlos Delgado to the Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre this weekend — an honor bestowed upon the greatest Jays in franchise history. Delgado spent a dozen seasons with the Jays, hitting .282/.392/.556 with 336 homers in 6,018 plate appearances. He will join Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, Tony Fernandez, George Bell and Dave Stieb as players to receive the distinction. Here's more from around the league…

  • ESPN's Keith Law unveiled the latest edition of his Top 50 prospects (ESPN Insider required and recommended), and it's fronted by Twins Class A Advanced center fielder Byron Buxton, though Law cautions that even he is a little uncomfortable with the amount of hype Buxton is receiving. Oscar Taveras, Xander Bogaerts, Miguel Sano and Francisco Lindor round out Law's Top 5.
  • The Mets will need to be "overwhelmed" to trade Marlon Byrd, writes Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star Ledger. "Overwhelmed," of course, is a relative term, and manager Terry Collins states things more lightly later in the article: "Right now, Marlon Byrd’s a huge piece. If Marlon Byrd’s going to get moved, we’re going to get something good back." Castillo's article meshes with previous reports that the Mets may simply stand pat at the deadline.
  • A team official tells Mike Puma of the New York Post that the Mets haven't had any action yet on Byrd or closer Bobby Parnell (Twitter link).
  • ESPN's Jim Bowden examines the trade market for relievers (video link), naming all of the usual suspects that have been mentioned previously but also adding Jared Burton, Huston Street and Luke Gregerson, who haven't been mentioned often this summer. All three are controlled beyond 2013. Bowden's colleague Buster Olney tweeted earlier today that the Diamondbacks continue to be players on the relief pitching market.
  • Uncertainty surrounding Clay Buchholz's injuries hasn't changed Boston's approach to the trade deadline, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. The Red Sox still plan to be "selective" as they debate possibilities to upgrade what they consider to be strong rotation depth. The team is also still interested in upgrades at third base and in the bullpen.

Twins To Extend Jared Burton

The Twins locked up one of their best relievers today, signing Jared Burton to a two-year, $5.5MM extension with a $3.6MM club option for 2015.  Burton would have been entering a walk year in 2013, so the contract buys out one free agent year with an option for another.  He's represented by Dave Pepe of Pro Agents, Inc.

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Burton, 31, inked a minor league deal with the Twins last November and made the big league roster after a strong showing in Spring Training.  The right-hander had a breakout season with the Twins in 2012,  posting a 2.18 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 0.73 HR/9, and 48.5% groundball rate in 62 innings of work.  MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected a $2.1MM salary for Burton's last trip through arbitration in 2013, so his actual $2.05MM salary isn't much of a discount.  But the Twins now have Burton potentially through 2015, as well as reliever Glen Perkins possibly through 2016 from an extension signed in March.   

As MLBTR's arbitration tracker shows, the Twins' class is down to just Drew Butera and Brian Duensing.

Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN first reported the extension was close. Tim Dierkes contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Twins Rumors: McCarthy, Blanton, Dempster, Myers

Here's the latest on the Twins from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN

  • So far, the Twins have reached out to free agents Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez, Joe Blanton, Ryan Dempster, and Brett Myers. They're interested in Myers as a starter. They've also reached out to Brandon Webb even though he hasn't thrown a pitch in the big leagues since 2009.
  • The club continues to have regular conversations with Alan Nero, who represents right-hander Scott Baker. The two sides are working on a new contract after Baker's $9.25MM option was declined.
  • The Twins have not shown any interest in Jon Garland and were not present when the right-hander threw for teams during an audition back in September.
  • Talks with reliever Jared Burton about a contract extension are underway. Matt Swartz projects a $2.1MM salary for the right-hander next season, after which he'll become a free agent.
  • The Twins have inquired about reliever Randy Messenger, though the Hanshin Tigers in Japan will not allow the right-hander out of his contract.
  • The team has not contacted Bill Bray after he hit free agency. Special assistant Wayne Krivsky acquired the left-hander during his tenure as Reds GM.

Rangers, Twins Discussing Jared Burton

The Rangers and Twins are discussing a possible trade involving right-handed reliever Jared Burton, Yahoo's Tim Brown reports (on Twitter). The Rangers are known to be considering additions to their bullpen. 

Burton, 31, has a 2.40 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 41 1/3 innings for the Twins this year. He's earning a salary of $750K and will go to arbitration this coming offseason before hitting free agency after 2013.