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Friday, December 14, 2012

Justice: Bourn still a fine prize, but market blurry

They should not have left him alone!

If there really is a slower market for Bourn, this is no knock on him. He’s a terrific defensive center fielder and has led the National League in stolen bases three times.

According to, his Wins Above Replacement number was 6.0, tied with Chase Headley for 11th-best in the Major Leagues. By comparison, Hamilton was 53rd with a 3.4.

Offensively, though, there’s no comparison. Hamilton’s .930 on-base-plus-slugging percentage was eighth-best in the majors. Bourn was 100th at .739.

And the Rangers don’t need Bourn’s glove. They need power from a corner outfielder or a first baseman.

It’s impossible to know where he might land, just as it was impossible to know the Tigers would step up for Fielder a year ago.

Bourn is good enough to win games with his glove or his legs or his bat. He doesn’t dazzle the way Hamilton does, but the team that signs him will be plenty happy they did.

Repoz Posted: December 14, 2012 at 05:42 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business

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   1. 1k5v3L Posted: December 14, 2012 at 08:30 AM (#4324562)
Jurice's sight is always 20-20. Looking at Bourn it's still a bit fuzzy. Speak of mutually assured destruction?
   2. 1k5v3L Posted: December 14, 2012 at 08:54 AM (#4324570)
Eh, that should say "Justice's hindsight is always 20-20". So much for trying to be all snarky and lyricy before finishing my first cup of coffee...
   3. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: December 14, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4324584)
I have no idea where Bourn will end up. Who still has money? Seattle? One of the chicago teams?
   4. DL from MN Posted: December 14, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4324647)
Seattle seems like the best fit. With Bourn you don't have to worry about Safeco taking his power away since there isn't much to begin with.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 14, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4324684)
There's so much money in MLB now, that he'll get a good deal, even if it's from someone who wasn't planning on bidding.

If he looks to be a bargain, somebody will swoop.
   6. Darren Posted: December 14, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4324695)
Red Sox should sign him and trade Ellsbury + Barnes + ? for a top starter. The Dodgers have too many, we'll take, oh I don't know, I guess we'll take that Kershaw guy.
   7. Darren Posted: December 14, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4324697)
Or a SS.
   8. hokieneer Posted: December 14, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4324710)
It's a bit odd that all the FA CF ranked below him have landed some place and the Nats/Reds have made trades. Now Hamilton, the one FA above him in the pecking order, has signed. But, does anyone here doubt Boras? Boras almost always gets the money.
   9. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: December 14, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4324724)
With Bourn you don't have to worry about Safeco taking his power away since there isn't much to begin with.

I hope somebody can convince him of that. This past season, he was turning on a fastball and blasting it deep into the seats occasionally. But it seemed like it would jink-up his swing for the next week or so as he tried to rip everything.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: December 14, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4325131)
Boras doesn't always get his money. Beltre had to take the gamble of the 1-year contract with the Sox. I think he was Maddux's agent the year Maddux had to take the Braves' arb offer. Although ARod eventually got his money it's not entirely clear Boras helped him get it in the opt-out -- but ARod opting out still seems totally stupid to me for all concerned that I don't have a clue who to blame it on.

It's a little odd in that the CF market seems to have gone in reverse this offseason. It seems that usually the big name signs first and that sets the market for the other choices.

The Upton deal is interesting -- presumably the Braves much preferred Upton at 5/$75 rather than bring back Bourn at whatever Bourn was asking. Either Bourn was asking for a ton or the Braves don't like Bourn very much.

Bourn really does have a strange profile. He's a low power guy who also only hits 275 and doesn't walk a ton. In WAR terms, he's quite similar to Devon White but White had decent power. Still, for both of them, their value is almost entirely in Rbase, Rdp and Rfield. But a guy whose BA is only 275 in his 20s surely must be a bad bet to age well -- he loses 20-30 points off his BA and he's doing nothing offensively. But then that never happened to White.

A P-I search for expansion era, BA<280, ISO<110 through age 29 (2000+ PAs) and sorted by Rfield ... well, there is Bourn right at the top of the list. Gary Pettis and Ken "RFD" Berry are next and that's exactly what teams want to avoid. Brett Butler is the major success story here and Bill North might have been the best of the rest -- he was actually a bit above-average from 30-32 but (injury maybe?) lost his starting job at 33 and never played again. Del Unser was useless after age 30.

In fact, there are 22 players on this list in addition to Bourn. Butler, Juan Beniquez, Mookie Wilson and Tom Goodwin are the only ones to play a single game after age 34 -- Wilson and Goodwin lasting only 200 PA at age 35 and Beniquez being a sometimes useful bench player throughout his 30s. And one key to Butler's success was the he walked a ton which Bourn does not. He also went from a guy with a 277 BA through age 29 to one with a 299 BA from 30 to 38.

So a very scary comp list with only one success out of 22. Of course I'm not sure Upton's comp list would look more promising but it's easy to see why teams are shying away from Bourn.

EDIT: Oops, Mookie also aged decently with 10 WAR from 30-34 in just 2400 PA and he was never the defender that Bourn is. If Bourn's offense aged as well as Mookie's he'd put up 15 WAR probably. So 2 out of 22 success stories.
   11. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 14, 2012 at 08:20 PM (#4325238)
Boras was Ryan Madson's agent last year. Only got him a 1 year contract and then Madson got hurt and signed another 1 yearer.

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