The Diamondbacks have claimed reliever Zack Burdi off waivers from the Orioles, both clubs announced. Baltimore also announced that reliever Travis Lakins Sr. has cleared waivers and been outrighted off the 40-man roster. Arizona’s 40-man roster is up to 38, while Baltimore’s 40-man tally now sits at 39. Lakins had previously been on the 60-day injured list and didn’t count against the 40-man.
Burdi is a hard-throwing righty who was selected by the White Sox in the first round after a dominant season closing at the University of Louisville. The hope had been that the Sox could fast-track Burdi to the big league ’pen, but his career was beset by injuries. He missed most of the 2018 season recovering from a Tommy John surgery, then wound up missing the final three months of the 2019 campaign.
Over the past two seasons, Burdi has tossed 17 1/3 innings of 7.79 ERA ball, allowing seven homers in that brief showing. His average fastball velocity sat just under 98 MPH in 2020. It was down two ticks last season, though, and Chicago lost him on waivers to the O’s in mid-August.
Even working with diminished arm strength, Burdi’s heater was still above-average. The D-Backs will take no-risk flier on that live arm which once made Burdi such a promising relief prospect. He still has a minor league option year remaining, so Arizona can shuttle him between the majors and Triple-A Reno next season if he sticks on their 40-man roster for the entire winter.
Lakins made 24 appearances with the O’s last season, his third consecutive year logging big league action. He worked 28 innings with a 5.79 ERA, striking out a below-average 19.5% of batters faced while walking an elevated 13.8% of opponents. Lakins ended the season on the injured list after undergoing surgery to repair an olecranon stress fracture in his elbow in early July, although the hope at the time had been that he’d be ready for Spring Training. He’ll remain in the organization without requiring a 40-man roster spot and hope to pitch his way back into the mix next spring.