This afternoon, the Astros made the tough decision to demote CF/2B/LF Chris Burke to Triple A. With Craig Biggio and Hunter Pence playing every day, and Mark Loretta hitting .375, the Astros preferred to send Burke down to play more consistently.
Burke will report to Round Rock within his three day limit, but his comments suggest he wouldn’t mind a trade:
"I’d like to play in the Major Leagues for somebody. Hopefully it will be [Houston], but I don’t know what will happen. [Going elsewhere] is obviously something I have no control over. I just want to play."
Burke, now 26, set a career high with 366 ABs for the Astros last year. He began the year as the Astros’ starting center fielder but has already been supplanted by hot prospect Pence. Last year, Burke had a strong first half (.298/.376/.483) and became a full-timer in June. He didn’t show much power after that, and finished on a low note with a .583 OPS in September.
Burke still carries a pretty strong PECOTA projection (.278/.348/.452). Looking at his comparable players list, Robby Thompson appears to be Burke’s upside. He was the 10th overall pick in ’01 as a shortstop. Burke eventually moved to second base before the ’04 season. He made a lot of top prospect lists after posting a .912 OPS in Triple A that year. He was given a shot in ’05 but didn’t hit much.
It should be noted that Burke had shoulder surgery last October, and his slow start could be related. I think plenty of teams would show some interest in a versatile, cheap player with a decent pedigree. The Mets could consider him for some additional help at second base, or the Marlins could pursue him to play center field.