According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the New York Mets have signed free-agent southpaw Sean Burnett to a minor-league contract without an invite to major-league camp. Davidoff does note that the 36-year-old “will probably pitch in some big-league games”.
Burnett most recently pitched in the majors with Washington in 2016 (3.18 earned-run average over ten relief appearances; 5.2 innings pitched) and spent last season in the Marlins’ organization, pitching to a 5.23 ERA over 18 appearances (20.2 innings) for Triple-A New Orleans (one appearance for Advanced-A Jupiter).
Over 380 major-league appearances (378.1 innings) — all but 13 in relief — during his nine-year MLB career, Burnett has pitched to a 3.52 ERA with 1.337 WHIP, 6.59 strikeouts and 3.52 walks per nine innings, a 4.16 fielding independent pitching rating, and 1.2 wins above replacement (FanGraphs).
Over Burnett’s career, he’s held lefties to a .221/.290/.336 slash line against with a 20.3 percent strikeout rate, .277 weighted on-base average against, and 1.11 WHIP (621 plate appearances) compared to a .262/.348/.400 slash line against versus righties (994 plate appearances).
Since the Mets’ new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen took over at the onset of the offseason, the team has signed a number of left-handed, major-league ready hurlers including the likes of Justin Wilson — pegged for a significant role in the Mets’ bullpen — as well as southpaw cogs Luis Avilan, Hector Santiago, and Ryan O’Rourke.
A low-risk, potentially meager-reward signing in Sean Burnett should provide another layer of depth for this organization and a capable arm in the event that injuries strike.
After undergoing ulnar collateral reconstruction surgery in 2014, the left-hander has battled to keep himself healthy and effective since. Aside from a seven-day disabled list stint last season for Triple-A New Orleans, he hasn’t made a documented trip to the DL since missing the entire 2015 season.