The San Diego Padres have apparently dealt OF Aaron Cunningham to the Cleveland Indians for RHP Cory Burns.

Cunningham was originally acquired by the Padres with Scott Hairston in the 2010 deal that sent Kevin Kouzmanoff and Eric Sogard to the Oakland A’s. Cunningham had a very solid year in 2010, hitting .288/.331/.417 in 147 plate appearances. He struggled last season, putting up a .178/.257/.367 line in just 101 PAs.

Cunningham, who will only be 26 in April, still has a chance to become a decent fourth outfield if given a shot in Cleveland.

Right-hander Cory Burns was drafted in the eighth round of the 2009 draft by the Indians. Never highly-regarded by scouts, Burns has rose promisingly through the Indians system. So far in 147.3 innings, he’s struck out a whopping 188, walked just 35, and given up only seven homers. Some gaudy numbers, for sure, but he is a reliever and his stuff isn’t overwhelming.

Ben Badler of Baseball America describes Burns on Twitter:

New Padres RHP Cory Burns: Huge K-rate, below-average stuff and a windup that evokes Hideo Nomo.

The delivery:

Burns may remind you of a guy like Joe Thatcher, disregarding their respective handedness. Dominant minor league numbers, a bit old for his league, funky delivery, etc. In fact, look at their minor league numbers:

Player Innings Strikeouts/9 Walks/9 HR/9
Burns 147.3 11.5 2.1 .4
Thatcher 264 11.3 2.4 .3

While Burns is far from a sure-thing to develop into a major league reliever, there’s a decent chance he can carve out a specialist role in the Padres bullpen, ala Thatcher, is the near future.