Michael Bourn Pulling a Fast One? Buyer Beware in the Free Agency Market

Friday November 16th, 2012

Kyle Holland– It’s no secret that 2012 offseason doesn’t have the best free agent class. Being topped off by Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton is great, but it declines under them. After last year’s class, this year’s list of available players seems terrible. One free agent that will not be re-signing with his last club is Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Bourn.

Bourn is a good outfielder, which comes as no surprise to anyone. But seriously, is Bourn really worth the $12 million+ multi-year contract he’s looking for? Let’s take a look.

First off, Bourn has never hit over .300 in his 7-year career. Yeah, a lot of sabermetrics are taking the place of batting average these days. Batting average definitely still matters though. A baseball team wins games with offense. Although there are more important offensive stats, average does still matter.

Next, and most importantly, his on-base percentage. Bourn loves stealing bases, everyone knows that. But in order to take bases, you have to get on base first. Bourn finished the 2012 season with a  .348 OBP. Put that into comparison against Buster Posey’s .336 batting average. Bourn only gets on base a small percentage more than Posey got a hit. Bourn is better than that and shouldn’t receive a long-term deal until he can prove that he can get on base more consistently.

Looking at Bourn’s career numbers, no team should be paying Bourn for more than 3 years and $10, $12 million per year at most. An MLB team should not be hopping on the Michael Bourn bandwagon if he is going to be looking for more than $12 million per season. The value is simply not there.

Teams like the Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, and the Boston Red Sox seem to have some interest in signing Bourne.

Let’s check out the Nats first. Yes, he could be a great addition to the already powerful line up. The Nats already have a stellar outfield being led by 20-year-old Bryce Harper. There are two words that describe why the Nats shouldn’t spend the money on Bourn: Nick Swisher. In assessing Swisher, although maybe not as good as Bourn, he is more valuable to the team. If the Nats sign Swisher over Bourn, probably for a significantly cheaper amount, then they get a first baseman and an outfielder in their repertoire. Plus power combined with strong on base skills.

Now, the Red Sox. They are most likely not going to sign Bourn for the amount of money he wants. Not after what happened last time they signed an expensive outfielder (Carl Crawford). He would be a good fit in a Sox uniform because Cody Ross is probably not re-signing with Boston. As a result, the Red Sox need an outfielder. I just can’t see the Sox signing him though after learning their lesson the last time. They can’t rely on the Dodgers fixing all their mistakes with contract absorbing deals.

So really, are any of the dozen-or-so teams looking for Bourn willing to spend $80- $100 million through 5-6 years? The answer is yes but really, it shouldn’t be. Bourn is good, but overrated. In viewing the 2012-13 offseason, it is going to be interesting looking at Bourn and speculating which team will be crazy enough to sign him. There is a good chance that whatever team it is will realize what a poor decision it was come 2013.

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of*)

Welcome our newest Baseball Intern, Kyle Holland! You can find Kyle on Twitter (@TheKHolland13) – be sure to follow him and send all your comments!


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Posted on November 16, 2012, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’m really not a fan of sabermetrics. So, I agree. Bourne is definitely over rated. As a Ranger fan, I hope the Angels over pay for another outfielder long term.

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