Burton inked a minor league deal with New York this offseason but failed to make the club in Spring Training, so he re-signed a new minor league deal and went to the team’s Triple-A affiliate, where yielded three runs in four innings before being released. Burton latched on with the Rangers in late May and has pitched quite well for Triple-A Round Rock, surrendering just one run with an 11-to-3 K/BB ratio in 10 innings there.
Now 34 years old, Burton was a key member of the Twins’ bullpen from 2012-14. He signed a minor league deal prior to the 2012 season as he worked his way back from shoulder injuries and proved to be one of the better bargain pickups in all of baseball that winter. Burton worked to a 2.18 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 48.5 percent ground-ball rate in 62 innings for the Twins in 2012, prompting the team to re-up with the righty on a two-year, $5.4MM contract.
Burton was solid in the first season of the deal before taking a step back in 2014. Last year, his K/9 rate, BB/9 rate, ground-ball rate and velocity all went in the wrong direction. Burton, however, still displayed an effective split-finger changeup (which he’s previously termed a “splangeup”).
The veteran was plagued by a lat injury earlier in the season while with the Yankees, but he’s back to full strength now and could be a bullpen option for a club that is thin on experienced arms. Given the sheer volume of teams that are on the lookout for affordable bullpen help, I’d imagine that Burton and agent Dave Pepe of Pro Agents, Inc. will have interest from multiple clubs.