SUNDAY: The Nationals have released Burnett, according to James Wagner of the Washington Post (on Twitter).
FRIDAY: Southpaw Sean Burnett didn’t make the Nationals’ roster in his attempt at a comeback, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports on Twitter. Burnett is set to exercise his opt-out clause at midnight tonight, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets, with agent Jim Munsey confirming that intention to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link).
Washington would surely like to keep Burnett on hand for depth, but the opt-out opportunity is hard to turn down with plenty of other clubs in need of southpaw pen pieces. Indeed, a major league opportunity seems reasonably likely; the Orioles have already been reported to have interest.
Now 33, Burnett was last a significant MLB contributor to the breakout Nats’ club of 2012. He has battled significant shoulder issues since, and hasn’t shown his former velocity levels. But he emerged in camp with 8 2/3 scoreless frames over which he permitted just six hits and one walk while retiring seven opposing hitters by strikeout.
The veteran lefty originally went to D.C. in the deal that sent Joel Hanrahan to the Pirates (and also included a swap of outfielders Nyjer Morgan and Lastings Milledge). He ultimately contributed 201 2/3 innings of 2.81 ERA ball, with 7.7 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9, over three-and-a-half seasons with the Nats. He left for the Angels via free agency, but managed only 10 1/3 innings over two seasons due to injury and sat out all of 2015.