You might’ve been traveling and missed the news. You might’ve simply been waiting for a bigger update and this slipped under the radar. But the Los Angeles Dodgers signed a couple of players on Tuesday night.
Outfielder Jason Martin and pitcher Beau Burrows signed minor-league contracts with the organization in what seems like the Dodgers attempting to maximize potential. Martin spent last season with the lowly Texas Rangers while Burrows bounced from the Detroit Tigers to the Minnesota Twins. Not exactly winning environments that bring the best out of players.
Martin, 26, and Burrows, 25, have limited MLB experience but, at the very least, can provide worthwhile depth at Triple-A while shuttling to and from the big league roster when the Dodgers need some help (which they very well might in 2022).
Anything promising? Nope. But the Dodgers are known for their ability to turn what appeared to be failed players into key contributors. With the various outfield and pitching departures this offseason, perhaps this is part of their plan.
What will Jason Martin and Beau Burrows bring to the Dodgers?
Let’s start with Martin. He was an eighth-round pick of the Houston Astros back in 2013 and has since spent time with the Pirates and Rangers. He made his MLB debut with Pittsburgh back in 2019, but only saw 27 total games in 2019 and 2020. The Rangers picked him up before the 2021 campaign and played him in 58 games, during which he hit .208 with a .603 OPS (six homers, 17 RBI and three stolen bases). He played all three outfield spots, but was primarily in left.
The only issue here is that he has zero minor league options remaining, so he will likely be in spring training as a tryout to see if he can contribute anything to the MLB roster.
Now for Burrows, who was a former first-round pick of the Tigers back in 2015. The right-hander regressed with Detroit from the time he was drafted up until he was designated for assignment in 2021. But he ended up making his MLB debut (as a reliever) in 2020, pitching in five games and finishing with a 5.40 ERA and 1.35 WHIP.
This past season, he spent most of it in Triple-A split between Detroit and Minnesota. The Tigers were trying to transition him to a relief role, but the Twins switched him back to a starter in the minors before calling him up and using him in five games (one of which was a start). The results at Triple-A were better, but his four-pitch arsenal (four-seamer, curveball, changeup and slider) got tattooed in those regular season outings. He finished with a 12.54 ERA and 2.36 WHIP. Burrows has one minor league option remaining.
Would be nice if this turned into a Phil Bickford situation, now wouldn’t it? Bickford was seemingly stuck in the low levels of the minor leagues as an ex-top pick before the Dodgers thrust him into MLB action, which earned him a valuable role in the bullpen.
So there you have it. Two low-impact signings that may be here in spring training to prove their mettle. These tend to turn into gold more often than you think for the Dodgers, so keep these names in the back of your mind over the next few months.