Phillies Rumors: RP Burnett, OF Nava Signed To Minors Deal

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Mar 30, 2016; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Sean Burnett (17) throws in the third inning during a spring training game against the New York Mets at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 30, 2016; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Sean Burnett (17) throws in the third inning during a spring training game against the New York Mets at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Phillies added some potential depth for the bullpen and bench on Friday, signing left-hander Sean Burnett and outfielder Daniel Nava to minor league deals.

The Phillies need left-handed pitching and bench depth. Preferably out of the bullpen and a platoon player. So on Friday the club made the first attempt at that by reportedly signing former Nationals and Angels reliever Sean Burnett to a one-year deal, along with former Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava, both to minor league pacts.

Daniel Nava

Phillies
Jul 28, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Fox Sports broadcaster Alex Curry (R) interviews Los Angeles Angels left fielder Daniel Nava (25) after the game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The Angels defeated the Red Sox 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Nava, 33, most recently played with the Angels and Royals, but is most known for his time in Boston. From 2012-2014, Nava averaged 7 HR and 45 RBI over 112 games per season, posting a .278/.364/.403 (.767 OPS, 111 OPS+) slash line.

The last two seasons have not been so kind to Nava, posting a .208/.307/.268 (.574 OPS, 61 OPS+). While hitting just 2 homers in 114 games with four clubs. He’s hit .275/.368/.396 (.765, 110 OPS+) in his career versus right-handers, can play all three outfield positions, and some first base, so the logic behind the move exists.

Nava has shown the ability to get on base throughout his career (.353 career OBP), and that’s what the club is most likely banking on here.

Related Story: Phillies Rule-5 Draft Results

Sean Burnett

Phillies
Sep 30, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Sean Burnett (17) throws to the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Burnett, 34, most recently pitched in the majors with the Nationals (5.1 innings pitched with a 3.18 ERA and 1.059 WHIP) in 10 September games this past season. He pitched for four different minor league affiliates (LAD, ATL, MIN, WAS), while posting solid numbers (2.28 ERA, 1.099 WHIP, 47.1 IP) before reaching the majors again in September.

The lefty was signed by the Angels in 2013 to a three-year deal, the same time in which Phillies GM Matt Klentak was assistant GM for LA, so there lies the connection. However the Angels would buy-out Burnett in 2015 due to recurring injuries.

Burnett is not a strikeout pitcher by any means, averaging just 6.6 K/9 for his career. However, he did go through a stretch of real success from 2009-2012 averaging 71 games and 58 innings per year, while posting some solid numbers (2.85 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 7.5 K/9, 0.7 HR/9, 1.201 WHIP) during that stretch.

Burnett has only pitched 16 innings at the big league level since 2013, but obviously Klentak sees something in him. He has done quite well in the lefty specialist role throughout his career, left-handed hitters hold a .225/.290.336 slash line versus Burnett for his career.

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What’s Next?

The terms of Nava’s deal are not yet known, but Burnett is reportedly due $1.25 million if he makes the club, with a chance to earn $3 million if he hits his incentives (plus an end of spring opt-out), and we can expect something similar for Nava.

However, don’t expect both to be handed big league jobs, while they both present logical fits, they’ll have to earn everything that’s coming to them. Nava is the more likely to stick around whether he makes the majors or not, Burnett could have value by the end of spring if he’s not making the Phils for whatever reason.

Next: One-Year Options For Corner Outfield

These are just the first of many minor league deals that present upside, so be sure to check back with TBOH for all the latest as the offseason rolls on.

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