The Royals have acquired outfielder Billy Burns from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for outfielder Brett Eibner. Burns is a switch-hitting speedster who had a terrific season in 2015, hitting .294/.334/.392 with 26 steals in his rookie season, but has struggled this year hitting .234/.270/.303 in 292 plate appearances. Out of all players with at least 250 plate appearances this year, he has the sixth-worst OPS in baseball.
The 26-year old Burns is a solid, but not spectacular defender in centerfield. He has pretty much no power and hardly ever walks but does not strike out much either. He is a better hitter against lefties than righties, but doesn’t have a huge split. With speedsters like Paulo Orlando and Jarrod Dyson already in the fold, Burns seems like redundant piece, but perhaps the Royals have another move to make.
The 27-year old Brett Eibner was hitting .231/.286/.423 in 85 plate appearances before being demoted yesterday. He was in a slump, but has shown some pop and plate discipline in the minor leagues ever since he was a second-round pick by the Royals in 2010 out of Arkansas.
Burns will be assigned to AAA Omaha. This is his last option year. He will not be eligible for arbitration until after the 2017 season, and has at least four years until free agency.