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Nats add Burriss, Canham on minor league deals

Dec 21, 2013, 2:27 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

On the same day the Nationals announced their signing of catcher Chris Snyder, the team reached minor league deals with two other players: shortstop Emmanuel Burriss, and catcher Mitch Canham.

Burriss joins the Nationals after a year in the Reds’ organization. He played 108 games in 2013 for Triple-A Louisville, posting a .241 average with 32 runs and 17 stolen bases. He spent the previous five years with the big league San Francisco Giants.

Burriss, 28, is a D.C. native and went to Woodrow Wilson High School. He has 282 career major league games on his resumé.

Canham has never reached the majors despite seven seasons in the minor leagues. The 29-year-old spent last season in the Royals’ system after time with the Cardinals, Athletics and Padres.

Canham played with the Royals’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates last year, hitting .265 through 97 total games between the two. He had 50 walks with 59 strikeouts and held a .747 OPS.

Matt Eddy of Baseball America first reported the moves.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Nice to see Mr. Burriss in the organization; I seem to recall some nice stories about him the first time he passed through Washington with the Giants.

    Assume we’ll be seeing a lot of these moves over the coming weeks as the Nats fill up the slots in AAA. At this point, you just want some decent 4A players in Syracuse who can fill-in for a MLB few games (knock on imitation wood grain) when necessary.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      Sorry: ‘…fill in for a few MLB games…”

  2. veejh - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Totally off topic, but did anyone else see what Blevins did right after he was traded to the Nats. I like this guy already.

    • letswin3 - Dec 21, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      Saw it. Loved it. Shades of Mr. Morse.

  3. philipd763 - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Rizzo needs to sign an MLB experienced back-up catcher. Snyder is not the answer.

    • Sirc - Dec 21, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Why isn’t Snyder the answer? He calls a good game, has vast MLB experience, and takes more walks than anyone on the Nats roster save Werth. Why can’t he be the 30 game backup?

  4. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Forgive the long post, but an earlier comment about Shin Soo Choo going to Texas got me to wondering just how pronounced the AL-lean in free agent signings has been this off-season. If I’ve got everything right (please correct me if I haven’t), here’s what it looks like, so far, based on MLBTR’s list of the top-50 free agents:

    American League: 20 of the top-50, which includes 11 of the top-20 (represented by a + below);

    National League: 14 of the top-50, but only two (2) of the top-20.

    Unsigned: 16 of the top 50, including seven (7) of the top 20 (but one of those appears likely to stay in Japan).

    Here’s the full list.

    American League:
    Cano (+)
    Ellsbury (+)
    Choo (+)
    McCann (+)
    Kuroda (+) (P)
    Napoli (+)
    Beltran (+)
    Kazmir (+) (P)
    Infante (+)
    Nathan (+) (P)
    Nolasco (+) (P)
    Feldman (P)
    Vargas (P)
    Hughes (P)
    Mujica (P)
    Smith (P)
    Wilson (P)

    National League:
    Granderson (+)
    Saltalamacchia (+)
    Colon (P)
    Benoit (P)
    Johnson (P)
    Hudson (P)
    Haren (P)


    Tanaka (+) (appears likely to remain in Japan)
    Santana (+) (P)
    Garza (+) (P)
    Burnett (+) (P)
    Jimenez (+) (P)
    Drew (+)
    Cruz (+)
    Arroyo (P)
    Balfour (P)
    Rodney (P)
    Yoon (P)
    Maholm (P)
    Crain (P)
    Hammel (P)
    Halladay (retired)

    (+) = MLBTR top-20; (P) = Pitcher

    Couple of quick observations:

    — With the exception of Curtis Granderson and (kinda/sorta) Jhonny Peralta, all the ‘impact’ bats who have already signed have gone to the American League. The only top-50 hitters left unsigned are Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales; yes, Stephen Drew is still unsigned, but to me he’s about defense not offense. All the other unsigned top-50 free agents are pitchers.

    — The top-50 list started out with 28 pitchers. Almost half (13, including one who has retired and another unlikely to sign) still remain unsigned, a function (according to conventional wisdom) of the ‘Tanaka effect’ (i.e., teams and/or agents are waiting for his and/or his team’s final decision). Of the top-20 pitchers on the list, four have signed with AL teams, none (zero) with NL teams, and five (including Mr. Tanaka) remain unsigned. Of the unsigned pitchers, four are in the top-10 of the MLBTR list (with Mr. Jimenez at number 11).

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      That last bit should read: “Of the pitchers in the top-20, four…”

      • NatsLady - Dec 21, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        The money is pretty slanted to the AL, though if you include Lincecum and Hunter Pence, the NL West has spent more than the AL Central.

        Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan 31m
        So far this offseason, teams have guaranteed approximately $1.543 billion to free agents. AL teams account for $1.13B. NL teams at $409.18M.

        Henry Schulman ‏@hankschulman 28m
        @JeffPassan are you counting $90 million #sfgiants gave Pence on the final day of the season to prevent free agency?

        Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan 25m
        @hankschulman Nope. Didn’t include Lincecum, either, since he was not officially a FA. With both, NLW is about equal to ALC in spending.

    • NatsLady - Dec 21, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      if you think about who are the “big market” teams in the NL, they have all been fairly quiet on spending this off-season for various reasons.

      – Dodgers, spent big last year to build up their team from squat (both in free agents and trades), now they have to look at extensions (Hanely, Kershaw)
      – Cubs – probably won’t spend big until they are nearer to contention
      – Fillies – ’nuff said
      – Mets – starting to spend, but are still in a deep financial hole

      • NatsLady - Dec 21, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Grrrr, that should be “Hanley” (Ramirez) for the Dodgers.

        Anyway, I don’t think it’s a trend that the AL is spending more than the NL, it seems more like a coincidence that the Mariners “woke up” at the same time the Tigers, Rangers and Yankees are spending. I don’t know how much the Red Sox and Angels will spend.

        Also, I guess Houston is a “big market” team, and they are starting to up their spending, but I would expect next winter and especially in the winder of 2015-16 they will go after the big ticket items.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 21, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        I’m just happy that all (or most) of the big bats are heading to the AL, where the Nats won’t see them as often. As for the arms, I’m guessing/assuming that at least two (maybe three, maybe all four) of those remaining top-11 pitchers end up in the AL, as well. In general, I’m an NL fan and like to the see the NL win all-star games, the inter-league series, the WS, etc., but I’m also selfish enough to want to see the Nats avoid those guys as much as possible.

  5. Section 222 - Dec 21, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Great post Eugene. I knew the biggest names (Cano, Beltran, McCann, Ellsbury, Choo) had gone to or stayed in the AL, but didn’t realize how pronounced the disparity was. Pretty stark. The availability of the DH has a lot to do with it of course. But it’s great to have Choo, McCann, and Beltran gone from our biggest obstacles to the NL pennant.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 21, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      With the DH it’s both the ‘availability’ (for the stereotypical ‘aging slugger’ or ‘defensively challenged’ hitter) and the simple need that AL teams have to fill one additional slot in the batting order.

      • NatsLady - Dec 21, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        And you do have some (pitchers) going the other way, e.g., Tim Hudson preferring an NL Team…

  6. Section 222 - Dec 21, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    We’ll see about the pitchers now that Tanaka is off the board. The DH doesn’t seem to deter that many guys from signing with AL teams.

    Burris can’t hit, but his lousy MLB numbers in 2012 were better than Espi’s lousy beginning of the season last year. Their numbers in the minors last year were equally unimpressive. Danny’s got more power, but strikes out a lot more. They could make a good DP combination in AAA I suppose.

    • Section 222 - Dec 21, 2013 at 5:36 PM

      The reason the DH leads to more FA hitters signing with AL teams has nothing to do with their preference. It has to do with teams being willing to offer more money and, especially, more years. And players, understandably, prefer longer and more lucrative contracts.

  7. David Proctor - Dec 21, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    NL, you know what’s interesting? We’re becoming one of those big market teams. We’re certainly spending like it.

  8. trochlis318 - Dec 21, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Its not even the big market teams in the AL becasue we have a few in the NL but its the fact that they can offer more years with more value with the idea of a player switching positions to DH. Like i guarentee you Choo isn’t playing the OF years 5-7 while in the NL he would have too with no DH

  9. stublues33 - Dec 22, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    Does Burriss replace Lombardozi, making Espinoza available for trade?

  10. davidmartin1979 - Dec 22, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    I am a Giants fan and I was a big fan of Burriss. He is a fun player to watch. I hope he gets a good amount of big league time this year. He is an exciting player when he is on the bases. Good luck in DC Manny.

  11. Joe - Dec 22, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Rizzo the former catcher loves to
    Collect lefty swinging catchers
    Jeroloman , Watts and now MC
    Neat bench for burg





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