Bourn Looking to Cash in on Success – Phillies Nation

Bourn Looking to Cash in on Success

Could we see this again next season?

What is Michael Bourn worth? What is a steady defensive centerfielder with great speed worth on the free agent market? We’re about to find out, and it could be a lot.

The talk is that he’ll command a $100 million deal in the off-season, with Scott Boras, his agent, doing the dirty work. After seeing Boras suck $142 million out of the Red Sox for free agent outfielder Carl Crawford, perhaps nine-figures is a possibility. I have a hard time seeing that large a number come to fruition, but anything is possible, and it only takes one team to do it.

But what exactly is his value in dollars? Does he deserve to be paid like one of the top outfielders in all of baseball?

According to Fangraphs, Bourn’s WAR since 2008 – the year he became a full-time player – is 18.5. That places him 12th among all outfielders, ahead of guys like Hunter Pence, Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Upton, and the aforementioned Crawford. Since 1.0 WAR is equal to roughly $4.5 million, Bourn would be worth about $20 million-per-season using that metric. Since we all know that’s not true and teams don’t operate that way (although maybe Boras can use this as leverage) let’s compare him to some guys with similar numbers.

As Corey Seidman so eloquently put it over at, Bourn falls in between Jose Reyes and Chone Figgins. I like that comparison. From Corey:

In the four seasons leading up to Reyes’ free agency, he hit .302/.354/.460 with an average of 26 doubles, 12 triples, nine homers and 34 steals per season. He also missed a total of 194 games with various injuries.

A more apt comparison is Chone Figgins, who signed a four-year, $36 million deal to play third base with the Seattle Mariners in the winter of 2009, the same off-season the Phillies signed Placido Polanco. Take a look at how similar the production between Bourn and Figgins was in their four seasons leading into free agency:

Michael Bourn
39 50
Chone Figgins
.291 .372

Unless he breaks both legs or doesn’t get a hit the rest of the season, it’s safe to assume Bourn will get plenty more than $36 million. Reaching Reyes’ territory also seems like a long shot in my estimation, but I guess we all thought it would be impossible for Jayson Werth to get $126 million. But it happened.

It’s entirely possible Bourn gets himself a five-year deal, but what about the money? If you split the difference between Reyes and Figgins, you get $71 million over five seasons, which actually seems like a pretty fair assessment of what Bourn is worth.

Is that a number the Phillies should go to? In my opinion, I stay away. It’s not that I’m not a Bourn fan – I am – but he’ll soon be 30 and is it smart to give a guy on the other side of 30 a long-term deal? Especially with the rapidly aging roster?

There will be other outfielders on the market once the winter hits. How about B.J. Upton? Maybe he takes a lesser deal, as he’s been unable to put up steady numbers throughout his career. The talent is there, but the production has never quite matched it, at least at the plate.

Would it be crazy to think Shane Victorino returns? He never really wanted to leave and loves Philadelphia. I find it hard to believe he’ll get a five-year contract, or even a four-year deal, which is what he so desires. But Victorino at three years for a reasonable dollar figure? Might entice both sides.

Whatever the case may be, Bourn will likely get a very large offer from someone. I don’t think he’ll get $100 million, but $85 million-plus is possible. At that price, it’s best to steer clear.

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  1. JMills

    August 7, 2012 at 8:51 am

    The way the phils are structured, I believe they have to have above production from all three outfield positions. They really need Dom Brown to be one of them unless they could get Chase Headly for him. I think they need two sign two of these three; Hamilton, Cabrera or Bourn.

  2. Dickie Thong

    August 7, 2012 at 10:00 am

    • Manny

      August 7, 2012 at 10:41 am

      My guess is that he’s probably trying to win the fans over… he was the Dodgers’ public enemy #1prior to the trade, after all.

      • Cat

        October 11, 2012 at 10:56 pm

        I’m not so down on Bourn as you seem to be, Phuture. He didwhack a coulpe of dingers in Cuba, you will remember, and maybethe small confines of the Bank would give him a few more. But,clearly, his virtues do not include power. They DO includedangerous speed a real threat on the bases and excellentdefense (including arm). I think that, unlike guys like JRolland Vic, he has a better idea of how to use his speed too. Inany case, that’s basically why I voted to keep him at least forthe time being on the ML roster as a spare part. I think he becould be quite useful in that role.

  3. Chuck A.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I’m really mixed on this. Third base is a big issue as well and there’s been this debate about signing Youk to a $30+M deal over 3 years. Just how do you allocate funds when both 3rd base and CF are positions that need filled? I guess I’d rather pay Bourn something like 5/60ish and roll the dice with a guy like Frandsen maybe at 3rd as opposed to throwing big money at Youk who has injury issues and isn’t all that great defensively.

  4. George

    August 7, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Boras will ask too much, and the Phils should stay clear. I don’t think they care for that rat of an agent after the Madson negotiations, anyway.

  5. jeff

    August 7, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Josh Hamilton. No thank you. declining druggy. Getting boed in Texas/ Borune not worth that kind of money. Been there done that. Melky no thanks. Fluke. Upton yes. Headley Yes.

    This team is aging. Utley and Howard stink

  6. Craig

    August 7, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Hey Guys. I am having a garage sale at home this weekend. I have a bunch of phillies jerseys that I am selling. Not worn very much. Great shape. I know you are all Phillies fans so I thought I would ask here. I can sell the whole group cheap. All authentic. XL

    Utley- away with world series patch
    Howard- Home
    Lee- Home
    Halladay- home

    all 4 for 200 bucks. Paid 1000

  7. cherry phil

    August 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Totally agree on not paying Bourn that much. BJ Upton is an interesting option. Shouldn’t cost too much b/c he’s having a bad season. Still young and hasn’t lived up to potential so maybe a change of scenery would help. Plus he’s right handed with pop.

    Another option is to put DBrown in center and sign Swisher (for maybe 3/24 or 27) for left. See if you can get Youk for a reasonable price, like 2/20. Lineup: Rollins, Utley, Youk, Howard, Swisher, Ruiz, Dom Brown, Mayberry/Schierholz. Not much speed, but a lot of pop and lot of patient hitters, like the Yanks. Given age, expect some injuries, hopefully guys like Frandsen, Nix, Kratz, Galvis can fill in. It’s basically one last hurrah for this core. If it doesn’t work, we start to break it up for 2014.

  8. TheDipsy

    August 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I would pay Bourn 12m per year. But thats me. He doesn’t hit home runs. Guys that don’t hit some homers just don’t get big money. Unless you are Ichiro. But he also happens to bat .350 every year.

    The Dipsy


    August 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    No way should the Phils get suckered into bidding on Bourne. Upton and Headley are indeed in play — both under 30 and both solid. Also, it would not be dumb to bring back Polanco as a utility player for $2 mil and Pierre as an outfielder.

    If you can get Bourn for $12 mil a year, then maybe. But he will want a really long-term deal and Dipsy is right, he just does not hit homers. And his agent is a royal ball-buster to deal with.

  10. Andrew from Waldorf

    August 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Fangraphs and WAR. I guess that will be forever and Ill just have to get used to it lol.

    Itchiro is hitting .260 this year and is unowned in my fantasy league.

    Id love to have Bourne. I believe yu win with defense up the middle. Catcher, SS, 2B CF. Second only to pitching in importance.

    Would I like Bourne? Sure. But not even for a dime more than 10 per. And he will get more than that.

    Dom Brown in center?

    I am just now getting out of the fetal position and crawling out from under my coffee table after a year of Hunter Pence in right.
    Dom Brown in center would have me institutionalized.

    I want a defense first guy in center next year and he can hit .100 and if hes GG level CF like Shane used to be. Ill be happy.

  11. Lefty

    August 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    IMO- Pass, Pass, Pass, on all of them. Develop the farm for christ sake. I wish they’d take their focus off buying or trading for ready to play guys, I don’t want them to turn into the flippin’ Red Sox.
    Hell the Red Sox and Yankees don’t even want to be empires anymore.

    Get down in the trenches where it’s dirty and hot, and do the hard work. Build an intelligent hard working crew of scouts, and a some sharp metrics guys. We could have sent people to Millville a few years ago, then made a trade with any of the 21 teams that passed on Mike Trout, and we wouldn’t even be thinking about Centerfield.

    At some point you gotta ask yourself, how many big splash trades and acquisitions did the Braves make last off season? Have they done anything since Bourn? Extended Prado maybe, oh and Jack Wilson for 1m ?? I may be missing some, but you get the point, and I still believe they can catch the Nats, in fact I’d love to see it.

    But I guarantee you they won’t give Bourn 100 Million.

    • Andrew from Waldorf

      August 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      In the trenchs? Hard work? Scouting?

      What is this the Pat Gillick era or something?

      Only you Lefty would despise the Nats more than the Bravos.
      I guess working here you have to hear their fans talk crap.
      And DC fans are just plain stupid for the most part.

      But rest easy. If they make the playoffs they are not a threat past the first round.
      You dont do damage your first time in the dance.

      I definately want the Nats to win it over the Braves.

      And please Phillies finish ahead of the Mets to offset me paying to watch the abortion. I mean season.

      • Lefty

        August 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm

        The Bravos didn’t spend 126 million on a decent player, better than average, but not worth126 million, taking him away from us. That’s why I want them to catch the stinking Nats.

      • therookie300

        August 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm

        Ah yes, the Pat Gillick era. What would this team have looked like if he didn’t trade Gio Gonzalez and Gavin Floyd for Freddy Garcia? Maybe RAJ wouldn’t have had to make moves for more pitching the last couple of years.

  12. Lefty

    August 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Andrew is right about the Fangraphs WAR dollar values. They are garbage and meaningless in the real world. They need to tamp them down about 50%, but like Pat said, give Boras something to hang his hat on, and he’ll make (golden) hay with it.

  13. TheDipsy

    August 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Lefty, just because you “dig down in the trenches and do the hard work needed to develop a good farm system” doesn’t mean you get one. It takes time. And some luck. And this team is looking to retool for next year. I believe you can do both at the same time. I actually like Schierholtz (sp) as a left platoon guy next year. Does anyone else?

    The Dipsy

    • Lefty

      August 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      I understand it takes luck, otherwise 21 teams wouldn’t have passed on Trout. But the guy that played high school ball in our own backyard! And guess what, it took no time at all- drafted at age 17, and now at age 20 he’s in contention for freakin’ MVP of the American League. The focus of this front office must change, now. Hamels, Howard and Lee will be here a long time. Get them some real sustainable controllable pieces. Or you could spend 100 million on Bourn to please the fans that have to have everything now. Only to have those same fans scream how horrible a contract it was two years from now when he has a calf injury, or bad knees, or a BABIP that normalizes back to average, just like they are turning on Cliff Lee now.

    • George

      August 7, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      My feelings exactly, Dipsy.

      It’s also hard to “dig down” when you have to draft behind 25 or more teams. If a team can’t get number one talent in the draft, it has to be obtained by other means. Free agency and trades are the only other ways that happens, and that gets expensive.

      I also agree on Schierholtz.

      • Lefty

        August 7, 2012 at 7:29 pm

        I was incorrect in my earlier comment. Trout wasn’t passed on by 21 teams, it was actually 22. The Angels themselves actually picked someone else before him as well. You CAN have late picks and still get good players.

        If you have a capable staff that will dig deep and do their homework and make use of the analytics available to these people today, they can get a lot closer to choosing “sure things” nowadays. Obviously no one really ever knows what’s in a guy’s heart, but we know a lot more than what the old scouts knew.

  14. Andrew from Waldorf

    August 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Still crying about the Werth deal.

    Be happy for it or they would be bigger players in the free agent market.

    I still believe he fits that club and as far as deals go. There are several ( who I will not name) on the Phillies that are far worse.

    And he will get his ring in DC it just wont be in 2012.

  15. Andrew from Waldorf

    August 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    And yes when you are in a sport without a salary cap and you have the second highest pay roll in the majors you are indeed expected to contend every year. And you really should.

    As much as I hated watching the Phillies morph into the Red Sox and Yankees since Ruben took over. Its better to be them than the Cubs who have a high pay roll and never contend.
    At least the Yanks and sox win a title a decade.

    Would be nice to have a GM with a clue who could be smart and still spend big bucks.

    • Krishan

      October 9, 2012 at 11:04 am

      This is a letter I wrote to serrtswoitpr Todd Zolecki in response to where Rollins should bat, but it was greatly influenced by the possibility of Bourn as our centerfielder.Dear Todd,Your article on where Rollins should bat was interesting but missedone very important point. Rollins is a much better hitter with menin scoring position than he is with no one on. I don’t have theexact numbers in front of me, but i know that he hits in the 300 swith men in scoring position compared with the 270 s otherwise. Areyou telling me you don’t believe that a man who can hit 25 homers andbat over 300 with men in scoring position would not be the idealhitter to bat behind Howard?Rollins Is one of those rare guys (think Pete Rose) that apparentlyconcentrates more intensely and becomes a better hitter when thepressure is on. He doesn’t want to walk; he wants to hit. Right nowI don’t know who else can bat leadoff for the Phillies but whenBourn makes the team, he is the guy. Check his OBP when he playedat Lakeland. Last year he wasn’t ready for AAA and his numberssuffered a little but he is the prototype leadoff man. What do you think?

  16. Ryne Duren

    August 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    i’d pass on bourn also! noway we give him a 100m 5yr contract. i’d be more inclined to go after upton for center and headley for third. they’re both good defensively and are a step up from what we have at those pos. now (mostly third) and upton in center has a big upside. kie someone said a change of scenery might do him wonders. and i think some of our minor league guys should be given a chance to prove or show what they have. that would also give us an idea of what we need. you never no we might have someone down there who could help! the F.O. big problem in my mind is they wait way too long for our guys. they’re always (not ready) like utley wasn’t howard etc etc. where ww’re at right now is a perfect time to do it but they’re not willing. mini, schnieder? why are they here. bring up a valle or even this new guy joseph. cesar hernandez, leandro castro, darin ruf. those guys are the new core don’t wait till they’re 27-28. dump mayberry too what more does he have to show them than what he already has. he’s a 5th OF at best.

    • George

      August 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Just for the record, Hamels spent very little time in the minors, Kendrick rose directly from AA, Worley I believe did the same, and Galvis spent half a season in AAA. Then there are all those inexperienced bullpen guys.

      In other words, you’re ignoring certain facts when you say the Phils wait too long.

      I’m not going to waste my time looking up minor league stats, but maybe a lot of those guys like Hernandez, Castro, etc. really aren’t ready, and would be set back in their development if they were suddenly forced to face ML pitching.

      As for catchers, they always need more time to perfect defense and pitch-calling. So you’re way off base about bringing up Valle or Joseph.

      • Ryne Duren

        August 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm

        george what i’m saying is bring those guys up in sept. not right now.kendrick came fromAA worley was at AAA, galvis was out of necessity mini mart was injured and he was leading the team in RBI all spring so they gave him a shot and he didn’t do that bad. as far as the other two hernandez and castro. hernandez was recently moved up to AAA and is doing the same as in AA. and he was an allstar. and castro has improved dramatically. both of those to make contact and don’t strike out a lot. and as far as hamels goes. he would have been up a year earlier if he didn’t get hurt in a bar fight and injure his hand. now they had to bring him up cause our pitching starter wise really stunk and i think we had a couple on the DL. and did you ever see his minor league stats? goerge they were staggeringly good. just saying pal.

        i just think sometimes there’s guys we could bring up and they always say they’re not ready. in some instances we’ve brought up guys you’ve mentioned and they held their own. the phils don’t give me any assurance that they know when when anybody is ready. case in point d. brown. and the other point is to have a manager that works well with younger players. unfortunately the manger we have now doesn’t in my eyes.

      • George

        August 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm

        You didn’t say “in September.” Even then, I don’t think bringing up Valle or Joseph is a good idea, and probably promoting some of those others wouldn’t be so hot, either.

        You’ve spoken before about confidence, yet you seem eager constantly to put young players in positions where there’s a high likelihood of failure; where confidence could be completely destroyed. Sometimes, as in the case of Hamels, a player is talented and just cocky enough that it doesn’t matter if he walks four or five guys in his first appearance. But in most cases, that isn’t so. (Also, in most cases, their minor league stats aren’t ” staggeringly good). Bastardo is a case in point; he has the stuff, proved himself last season, yet when he has a few difficulties, seems to lose all his moxie.

        I’m sorry, but I’ll take the opinion of professional scouts and experienced talent evaluators over yours. I’d be willing to bet they’ve seen the players and talked to them more than you have, and have evaluated far more ballplayers than you have.

        And Galvis was not completely “out of necessity.” He beat out several other more experienced candidates.

  17. Jeff Dowder

    August 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Handing out another $100 million deal would be a huge mistake…no thanks. They already have enough bad contracts on the books.

    First level seats going for as low as $6 for tonight’s game:

  18. Jake

    August 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Signing Bourn would be idiotic. This team probably has $25-30 million to spend. Sign Youk if you can get him on a cheap incentive-laden deal, and go after Hunter and Pagan (two cheaper options, but still productive and both more productive than Bourn) for center. I’d like to see them get Swisher for RF and sign a guy like Hairston for the bench. You definitely need a proven set up man. Maybe they could get a guy like Balfour. If you signed Youkilis, Swisher, Pagan, Hairston, and Balfour for what they’d likely get, the price would likely come out to about $30 million, which is what the Phillies have to spend. That puts them right between $185-$190 million if you take everyone’s salaries by AAV and the $10 million in benefits used to calculate the luxury tax.

    • George

      August 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      People think signing Youk is a good idea and I agree, too, because Michael Martinez is always around to play the billion or so games when Youk is on the DL.

      • Jake

        August 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm

        You know, Youk still played 120 games last year, 136 the year before. He had a 122 OPS+ last year and 138 OPS+ since going to Chicago this year. Youk is still a very productive player. If you could get him for $5-8 million or less on a 1 year deal, I’d take the chance on him.

      • George

        August 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm

        Polanco played 122 games last year, and fans complained of his constant injuries.

        When you’re old, you tend to play less and less; sometimes, however, with flashes of past abilities. Youk may be doing okay with the White Sox, but you’ve got to look at the entire season and the trends of the last few. Next season, just like Placido, he’ll be another year older.

        I might sign an older, injury prone player like Youk for $5 million, but never for $8. He’s just not going to be in there as much as he’d need to be. Plus, he’s not a great defender.

  19. Cameiros

    August 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Building a farm system may be luck…but some teams do it. A lot of the ‘luck’ comes from having a great organization that values and develops their scouts. St Louis comes to mind, as well as Tampa Bay with a 64 million payroll…

    And as far as overpaying – isn’t that what Ruben does best? Would anyone be surprised at a hundred mil contract for Bourn or Melky?

    What sticks in my craw is the knowledge that we should have won the WS in 09. Its so rare to just get there you have to give yourself every possible opportunity to win.With the great core the team had – great defense, power and Lee and Hamels all we needed were the fillers that all successful teams find. You need 2 things in the postseason to give you an edge: situational hitting and a solid bullpen. We went into the postseason with a closer sporting the worst era in memory. How could any GM have allowed his team to go into the postseason with Lidge, the way he was pitching?

    We needed Gillicks touch more than anything in 09. Nothings guaranteed, but the man had a knack for finding the right talent to complement a team and put it in the best position to win. Its a crying shame because its going to be many years before we taste another shot.

    Anybody who thinks we’ll be back in 2013 is dreaming, especially not with Ruben calling the shots. Atlanta and DC are younger and better, with depth and strong farm systems. Barring injuries Harper, Zimmerman, Strassburg, and Hayward and Freeman, are going to be around for years.

  20. smitty

    August 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I think Bourn will be overpayed as usual because Boras will force some team – most likely Nats– who now sign all of his players. He, despite all the metrics, is not worth any more than 7 to 8 mill per year. Pagan, who is not as good a fielder, will command that kind of money and while inconsistent, he is pretty much the same player – see his stolen bases but bettetr power. Upton has been chronically overated the day he started and K’s too much. Plus I would venture he has an attitude.

    The answer is somebody like Bourjas who can run and field. Despite a weak bat he will more than make up for that with his other “play.” Regardless, there are better options than paying some neo 30 year old an inflated salary when you can get 75% of the production from someone you pay 1 – 2million. Pass on all 3 of the above – and Vic ? not unless he is really going to give a home team discount – and frankly, he looks somewhat “used up.”

  21. Dani

    October 11, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Well, it’s Lakewood, not Lakeland But you have a point. Bourn’s only real spot to hit seems to be leadoff, but that’s only if his OB% jumps back into the .380-.400 range, which isn’t easy for aoynne to do, let alone a rookie. If his ceiling is defensive replacement/pinch runner, then I think you either trade him for a player like Tankersley or you keep him and just use him in the majors. I don’t see what good it will do to send him to AAA.

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