• Burroughs' Fairy Tale Ending

    Third baseman and non-roster invitee Sean Burroughs reported to Twins spring training camp yesterday and apparently took some time to talk to reporters, as you'll find him in numerous stories today. That's not surprising.

    Burroughs is a good story - a Little League hero who rose to prize prospect, flamed out in 2007, fell into a life of substance abuse and returned to the majors as a bench bat last year. For now, it's a happy ending. For Twins fans, it has a chance to be happier still, because Burroughs has positioned himself to be in the right place at the right time.

    I was asked today how the Twins were the lucky team to sign someone with Burroughs’ upside to a minor league contract. The answer is a bittersweet one to Twins fans. Burroughs likely signed with the Twins because a lot could go wrong at the hot corner this year.

    Last year, a heap of unwanted attention was piled on Danny Valencia's defense, and when one plays for a manager like Ron Gardenhire, that's no small problem. But there was also the fact that the right-handed batting Valencia has simply not hit right-handed pitching, posting .242 batting average and just a 654 OPS in 660 plate appearances. For comparison, Nick Punto’s career OPS is 652. Considering right-handed pitchers account for 2/3 of the at-bats an everyday starter faces and suddenly Valencia’s future as a full-time player is in doubt.

    Enter Burroughs. Burroughs bats left-handed. Coincidentally, when speaking of Burroughs, Gardenhire specifically praised two areas in which Valencia has struggled: defense and clubhouse impact. ESPN 1500’s Phil Mackey asked Gardenhire about Burroughs and passed along the following quotes:

    "He can pick it over (at third base)," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Very intelligent. As I said, very intelligent on the defensive side of the ball. Knows the game out there, positions himself well. Always did. And handles himself very well. (Rochester manager) Gene Glynn had him down in winter ball this year. He had him down in winter ball in Venezuela. He had great reports on him....

    "Everything I've heard about him from winter ball, they told me he was one of those guys that everyone couldn't wait until he entered the clubhouse; he brightened up the clubhouse.”
    It's unlikely last year’s third base responsibilities would change by Opening Day. But it's not totally crazy to think that Burroughs could find his way onto the 25-man roster. Two bench spots might be in play. Luke Hughes' status is up in the air given his shoulder problems. Burroughs could replace him, especially if he shows he can fill-in at second base in a pinch. And the Twins have enough redundancy at catcher, shortstop and center field that Gardenhire could use that last roster spot for a bench bat instead of a bench glove.

    But whether he makes it right now or not, this story isn't over. We don't know the plot twists that will take place yet this spring or summer, but there is plenty of opportunity for all involved to live happily ever after.
    This article was originally published in blog: Burroughs' Fairy Tale Ending started by John Bonnes
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. pekingman's Avatar
      pekingman -
      Good comments, but typo in 5th paragraph, wrong name: "Mackey asked Gardenhire about Burroughs..." (not Valencia)
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I would hope he is the 25th man (if he is decent or better in ST) instead of either an injured Hughes or AAA Nishioka. Good lord, if the Twins are willing to keep Matt Capps around in part because he is a "good guy," then you would think they would like making this a true feel-good story as well, right?
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      I liked the Burroughs signing from the start, but I am a little concerned that Gardy will use it as a way to bury a player he doesn't seem to like very much in Valencia. And while Danny V has some flaws, I feel like he got scapegoated a fair bit last season. That said, I would vastly prefer to carry Burroughs on the 25 man roster than Butera's useless bat or a 12th pitcher that will throw once every 10 days. This team needs to have LH & RH bats on the bench that can actually hit a little
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      pekingman - Thanks. Ugh. Fixed.
    1. Chief's Avatar
      Chief -
      Quote Originally Posted by jmlease1 View Post
      This team needs to have LH & RH bats on the bench that can actually hit a little
      What is this? Sounds like some sort of fantasy land.
    1. biff27's Avatar
      biff27 -
      I like this signing alot also, and for sean I hope it turns out that he makes the 20 man roster. If it comes down between him and luke Hughs,hughs does not have very good baseball sense and his arm leaves alot to be desired, and I think we saw enough of Nishi.
    1. biff27's Avatar
      biff27 -
      um sorry 25 man roster,oops
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