The Padres had to drop someone from the 40-man to make room for Yorvit Torrealba, and it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that whoever it was would be a right-handed reliever in his mid-twenties.
This came to fruition, as Greg Burke wound up released to make room for Torrealba.
Burke, 27, hadn’t even pitched in Triple-A before 2009, but wound up being one of San Diego’s middle innings relievers for most of the year.
He showed two plus pitches in his 88-93 mph running fastball and low-80′s slider, and posted a solid groundball rate of 47.5%.
Beyond that, however, there isn’t much that separates Burke from a million righties in the high minors. His K/BB ratio was just 33/23, and his xFIP sat at 4.72 (Petco deflated his ERA to 4.14, thanks to a low HR/FB.
At his age, Burke wasn’t likely to improve dramatically, so he’s just a decent sixth-or-seventh inning guy at best. With the Padres overflowing with bullpen candidates, he wasn’t really needed, and getting a third catcher on the 40-man (and all three have skills; how about that?) was a higher priority than retaining 14 pitchers to compete for six spots.
All that said, it would have been nice to see the Padres get something for Burke, just like the A’s received “cash considerations or a player to be named” for Dana Eveland recently (and Burke is a superior pitcher to Eveland). You don’t want to let MLB-level talent just walk away for no return, particularly if you’re a team that needs to use every penny wisely.
All in all, though, I don’t think there will be any point where Padres fans say “Aww, man! If Greg Burke were only here…”