Blue Jays Claim Casper Wells, Designate Alex Burnette

The 40-man roster undertook yet another juggle today when the Blue Jays claimed outfielder Casper Wells off waivers from the Mariners.  To make room for Wells, right-handed pitcher Alex Burnette was designated for assignment.

In 432 plate appearances for the Mariners, Wells hit .225 avg, .304 obp, .406 slg with 17 home runs. Wells is capable of playing all three outfield positions and has faired better vs. left-handed pitching  (.264 avg, .349 obp, .489 slg).  In his 3-year MLB career, if you were to average Wells numbers over 162 games he projects to bat .246 avg, .317 obp, .435 slg with 18 homers and 58 rbis.  It will be interesting to see what the Jays do with Wells.  In my mind he ranks as the teams 6th outfield option behind Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, Rajai Davis, and Anthony Gose.  However, on so-so teams, Wells is a decent 4th outfielder and might even start on weaker clubs.

Burnette is the odd man out in the latest waiver wire circus in Blue Jay land.  Toronto claimed him off waivers at the end of Spring Training when the Twins tried to remove him from the 40-man roster. Minnesota selected the 25-year-old out of high school in the 12th round of the 2005 draft.

Burnett’s command has improved each year since his 2010 debut, but his strikeout rate has declined as well. In 170 career innings, he has a 4.61 ERA, 5.6 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9. Last year he struck out just 36 batters in 71 2/3 innings, though he managed a solid 92.7 mph on his fastball.  At only 25 years old and with an arm that has shown improved control while maintaining 90s on the radar gun, look for another team to claim Burnette.  The Jays will be lucky if he clears waivers.  A career 4.61 ERA over 170 innings isn’t turning heads, but he’s young and has potential.

I’m not following other teams nearly as closely as the Jays (obviously) but it amazes me how many minor moves they continue to make.  Will the tinkering ever be done?



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