As the baseball world waits on Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, the Yankees are keeping busy. Yesterday the team announced that they signed outfielder Billy Burns to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Burns spent all of 2018 playing for Triple-A Omaha, where he managed a weak 68 wRC+ over 425 plate appearances. The 29-year-old last appeared in the majors in 2017, when he made just six plate appearances with the Royals. Burns is best remembered for his 2015 campaign with the Athletics, when he hit .294/.334/.392 with five home runs and 26 stolen bases.
What Burns lacks at the plate, he somewhat makes up for with speed and defense. By DRS, he played an above-average outfield in 2015. Other metrics, however, weren’t as keen on him. Burns did grade out as a strong baserunner when in the big leagues though, accruing 9.3 BsR in parts of four seasons.
Realistically, this move just fills out the roster for Triple-A Scranton. The RailRiders lost considerable depth with Shane Robinson, Billy McKinney, and others leaving. As things stand, Burns will roam the outfield alongside Tyler Hill and Zack Zehner. Then again, I wrote off the Robinson signing entirely, so never say never. Let’s hope that’s not the case again in 2019.