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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Reds - Claimed Burns
Cincinnati Reds - Claimed P Mike Burns off of waivers from the Houston Astros.
Quite often, it’s quiet little bullpen moves like these that end up paying big in October, not the big headline of the “Billy Wagner eats a sandwich!” variety that we frequently get at the start of the open free agent season.
Not that Mike Burns has the upside of Bobby Jenks, but he could very well do for the Reds what Dan Wheeler did for the Astros. In Burns’ case, his trajectory was somewhat similar to Wheeler’s - Burns has 2 good-to-very good pitches and, a starter prospect, kind of hit the wall after the big A-ball jump when a couple of good pitches simply isn’t enough to fool AA and AAA hitters for 6 innings. Since being converted to full-time relief, Burns has been 1000% better, getting revenge on the AA hitters that beat him up the first time and heading to AAA with Round Rock and doing the same in 2005. Burns made it to the majors after that, with much more mixed results. But even given his on-again, off-again success in the majors, Burns is more likely to contribute in the majors than some of the other players on the ‘Stros 40-man roster, like Charlton Jimerson.
The Reds have a lot of “open tryout” spots for the team in the spring and even if Burns doesn’t have a good spring, he’ll get his chance in Cincinnati sooner or later - the Reds’ comically bad outfield defense has a way of chewing up pitchers and spitting them out. Unless two of Kearns, Dunn, Griffey, and Pena are gone and the Reds get a new centerfielder who can actually field his position, this isn’t going to change. Bad news for Eric Milton, who’s a flyball pitcher even when he’s not horrible, but better news for groundball pitchers (Burns is in the middle, so this is kind of off-topic).
Now, it’s more likely that Burns becomes a journeyman, organizational player, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
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