Pirates Recall Sean Burnett, Dump Evan Meek

The Pirates have designated Evan Meek for assignment, which means he's very likely to head back to Tampa Bay unless the Pirates can work out a deal with the Rays to keep him and stick him in the minors. This really isn't a big deal -- Rule 5 picks don't often work out, so teams like the Pirates should try to grab players they think might stick and not fret too much if they don't. Meek wasn't the power arm the Pirates probably hoped he'd be. 

Meek will be replaced on the roster by Sean Burnett. It's a minor transaction, not worth worrying too much about, and I know Pirate fans love Burnett now, but I don't think this is a good move. Burnett was probably the third-best reliever at Class AAA Indianapolis. Jesse Chavez and Marino Salas have both been better, and both are righties who throw harder than Burnett does.

With the move of Phil Dumatrait to the starting rotation and Tom Gorzelanny's recent loss of velocity, the Bucs now have four soft-tossing lefties in their rotation, two decent lefties already in the bullpen, and two relatively hard-throwing righties dominating in AAA, and their solution is to add... another soft-tossing lefty?

Until I see evidence to the contrary, I can't get excited about Burnett, who's been terrible in the minors the last two years and doesn't currently have a great strikeout rate or K:BB ratio at Indianapolis. Chavez in particular has a better track record as a prospect, and while minor league relievers are a dime a dozen, it's not clear to me why he doesn't get more respect from the Pirates or their fans. 

By the way, Dejan Kovacevic reports that Burnett was the Pirates' "best reliever at Class AAA Indianapolis." Really? By what standard? Salas has a better ERA, half as many walks and a better strikeout rate. Chavez has a slightly higher ERA but has more than a strikeout per inning and a 7:1 K:BB ratio, compared to 2:1 for Burnett. Both Salas and Chavez have lower WHIPs; Chavez's is a third lower.

Where do people get this idea that Burnett is such an impressive pitcher? I'm probably coming off like Burnett hit on my girlfriend or something, but I don't have anything personal against him. I just think it's extremely weird that people on the internet are acting like he's a tragic hero, and the local paper doesn't sound like it disagrees. Burnett isn't some tragic hero getting jobbed. Spring stats mean exactly nothing. There is nothing that exciting about Burnett's performance so far in the minors. And he's spent the last two years stinking up the joint. Chavez and Salas haven't. Where's the interest in them?

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