Friday’s news: M’s sign Burroughs

DMZ · December 22, 2006 at 1:12 pm · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners 

Also: Griffey broke his hand.
Pettitte’s indeed going to the Yankees for 1y, $16m.

Sean Burroughs. 3B-L, 26.
Ah, I remember when he was a superprospect, before everyone realized he hits 200% ground balls and that makes for a pretty poor power hitter. And before it was widely known that he didn’t listen to coaches that tried to help him with his swing. Or anything else.

You know he pitched an inning in 2005? Maybe the M’s scouts saw something they liked and want to use him in middle relief.

He’s a decent glove in the infield, which means, and this is at least interesting to me, that potentially he’s a direct competitor to Dobbs, who will be 28 next season. Burroughs spent some quality time on the DL last year with a back problem, but really, even the Devil Rays didn’t want him – they played Huff and Wigginton over him, and then Upton. He was DFA’d during the season, which is a sign of how little they cared about him at that point.

Here’s the thing, though: Burroughs is, and has always been, potentially a star. Without drawing walks, he doesn’t get on base enough. Without making the adjustments to his swing that coaches fell over themselves to try and help him with, he doesn’t hit well enough to contribute anyway.

For instance, select quotes from the BP annuals.
2000: The power will come, and the rest of his offensive game is already major-league caliber.

2001: Burroughs will be moving Nady and Nevin to other positions–or other cities–sooner rather than later.

2002: As expected, Burroughs’s power is coming around. […] Burroughs is the early-line favorite for the NL Rookie of the Year Award.

2003: Burroughs can still rake, the power’s eventually going to increase, and if there’s anything to worry about, it’s the declining walk rate, not anything more mysterious than that.

(no comment on his card)

2005: Without more walks or extra-base hits, Burroughs is only a moderately useful player, and nowhere near the future star many expected.

I bring this up not to point out that BP was wrong, because especially with stathead-centric evaluation, the goalposts are always moving: if you find out that players with old skills age really badly, you can’t be as enthusiastic about the long-term future of those guys as you were the day before.

I bring this up because those were typical views: everyone saw the major-league pedigree and his raw talent.

He’s an interesting minor-league invite and possible bench player. If his failures have opened him up to listening and the M’s can get him some good people to work with, I’m willing to hold out hope, but what happens if he suddenly blossoms? We’ve got Beltre, and the DH spot’s blocked for that matter.

The chances that would happen anyway are pretty slim, of course. The list of low-walk, extreme groundball hitters who turned their careers around this late would be, pretty much, Sean Burroughs. But at least there’s some kind of possibility here, which is more than we can say for a lot of their moves.


53 Responses to “Friday’s news: M’s sign Burroughs”

  1. Replacement level poster on December 23rd, 2006 4:36 pm

    We need another “underdog” to root for. Mine was Snelling. Guess now its Dobbs. Line drive hitter like Snelling. Given a chance, he’d be a good backup in the infield/outfield and as a spot DH when you know who goes down.

    If Dobbs is the answer the question is wrong. Look elsewhere for a new underdog. Dobbs is no Chris Snelling.

  2. CouchGM on December 23rd, 2006 4:49 pm

    Did they really sign Burroughs or is this a rumor? I don’t find it anywhere in reports. Hope so, good pickup…less at bats for Willie.

  3. Paul B on December 23rd, 2006 6:49 pm

    I’ve never understood why Dobbs was taking up a spot on the 40 man roster. This move just confirms that there is basically free talent that replaces whatever he brings to the team.

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