The Marlins have traded outfielder Peyton Burdick to the Orioles in exchange for cash, per announcements from the two teams. Baltimore transferred injured closer Felix Bautista to the 60-day injured list to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Miami designated Burdick for assignment earlier this week when acquiring Darren McCaughan from the Mariners.
Burdick, who’ll turn 27 later this month, has seen limited MLB action with the Marlins in each of the past two seasons. He carries just a .200/.281/.368 batting line and a sky-high 38% strikeout rate in the big leagues, but that’s come in a tiny sample of 139 trips to the plate. Burdick has better numbers in the upper minors — he’s a .214/.324/.424 hitter in 952 Triple-A plate appearances — but strikeouts have been an issue throughout his professional tenure, evidenced by a 32.7% mark even in Triple-A.
Contact issues notwithstanding, Burdick offers plenty of loud tools that have long intrigued evaluators. He’s a former third-round pick whom FanGraphs has credited with plus-plus raw power (70-grade) in the past. He has better-than-average sprint speed, and scouting reports on the 2019 No. 82 overall draft pick have suggested that he has the tools necessary to stick in center field, or at the very least to profile as an above-average to plus defender in the corners.
Burdick has a pair of minor league option years remaining, so the Orioles can stash him in Triple-A Norfolk and rely on him as a bench option behind a deep and talented outfield that features a nice mix of veteran contributors and fast-rising prospects. Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander figure to open the season in the Baltimore outfield (from left to right), but top prospects Colton Cowser and/or Heston Kjerstad could force their way into the mix before long.
In Sam Hilliard and Ryan McKenna, the Orioles have a pair of out-of-options outfielders on the 40-man roster who aren’t considered locks to make the club. In the event that one or both of Hilliard/McKenna is lost via waivers late in camp, the addition of Burdick and his two minor league option seasons can help Baltimore retain some experienced outfield depth to help safeguard against injuries throughout the course of the season. And with Burdick just entering his age-27 season and still possessing six full seasons of club control, there’s always the off chance that he makes some strides following the change of scenery and forces his way into a longer-term role than anticipated at the time of acquisition, similar to Ryan O’Hearn last offseason.