San Diego Padres take risk on once promising prospect Nick Burdi

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 19: Nick Burdi #57 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on April 19, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 19: Nick Burdi #57 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on April 19, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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Currently recovering from his second Tommy John surgery, the San Diego Padres have signed RHP Nick Burdi.

Leave it to San Diego Padres general manager AJ Preller to leave no stone unturned in his search for talent.

According to Jeff Sanders of The San Diego Union-Tribune, the San Diego Padres have signed former Pittsburgh Pirates right-handed pitcher Nick Burdi to a minor league contract. Burdi will miss the entire 2021 season after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery back in October.

It’s not just the second Tommy John surgery that Nick Burdi will look to rebound from with the San Diego Padres. Burdi also underwent surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome in 2019. Needless to say, the once-promising prospect has had a rough go of it in his career.

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Originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins back in 2014, Burdi climbed as high as 7th on Baseball America’s list of top Twins prospects, and began the 2020 season ranked 25th with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The soon-to-be 28-year old averaged 98.1 mph with his fastball during a brief stint in Pittsburgh last season and still features a powerful swing and miss slider. His successful two-pitch mix is why the Pirates and their fans were excited to see Burdi take over as the team’s closer last season, and is likely why Preller and the Padres are willing to go ahead and stash him away now to let him rehab with the organization and compete in 2022.

Burdi has struggled in his short amount of time in the major leagues, but still managed to strike out 23 hitters in 12.1 innings from 2018-2020, all while undergoing/recovering from two major surgeries.

A quick look at his success in the minor leagues shows you what type of results Burdi can put up when healthy. In 90 career minor league games, Burdi owns a 3.44 ERA with 156 strikeouts in 115 innings. He allowed just six home runs.

The San Diego Padres have done something similar to this fairly recently. The Friars signed Garrett Richards to a two-year deal ahead of the 2019 season, despite Richards being set to miss the majority of the following season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.

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Nick Burdi hasn’t shown any reason to not believe in his stuff, it’s just been a matter of staying healthy. If he can eventually find his way back to the mound, the San Diego Padres may have found themselves a very intriguing bullpen piece for 2022.