The Twins and left-handed reliever Sean Burnett have agreed to a minor league pact, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link). The Munsey Sports client opted out of a contract with the Braves last week. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets that Burnett has a June 15 opt-out date and would earn a pro-rated $1MM base salary upon making the Majors, with an opportunity to earn up to $1MM more via incentives.
The 33-year-old Burnett has already been with the Dodgers and Braves this season, working to a combined 1.38 ERA with 10 strikeouts against seven walks in 13 innings of work. He’ll hope to make a return to the Majors for the first time since 2014 under his new deal, as surgery to repair an elbow impingement in 2013 and Tommy John surgery in 2014 have slowed his career. Prior to those setbacks, Burnett was a solid reliever for the Pirates and Nationals, working to a 2.85 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 234 innings from 2009-12. Lefties have batted .228/.293/.336 against him to this point in his big league career.
The Twins’ bullpen has been an unmitigated disaster this season, with a 4.75 ERA that ranks 28th in Major League Baseball and beats out only the Rangers (5.43) and Reds (6.47). Closer Glen Perkins went down early with a shoulder injury and recently had a setback, and other left-handed options have struggled, with the exception of Fernando Abad, who has quietly been excellent since signing a minor league deal this winter. Rookie Taylor Rogers is the only other lefty in the Twins’ bullpen, though the converted starter has struggled out of the gates in his brief taste of the Majors. Burnett will join a large stable of lefty relievers at the Triple-A level that are not on the 40-man roster; the Twins currently have southpaws Ryan O’Rourke, Logan Darnell, Dan Runzler and Buddy Boshers in the Rochester ’pen.