In order to contend in the future, the Philadelphia Phillies have a few critical weaknesses they need to address. ESPN's Buster Olney states that the Phillies are interested in Michael Bourn as the answer to many of the team’s questions about the future. But, bringing him to Philadelphia would be counterproductive to any effort Ruben Amaro, Jr. could make in getting the Phillies back into contention.
For starters, Michael Bourn is going to be 30 years old next year. He’s also represented by Scott Boras, who will undoubtedly make Bourn appear to be worth much more than he actually is, and that will probably be somewhere in the $15 million to $20 million range. The Phillies need to get younger in a fiscally responsible way.
If the Phils are to make a comeback in 2013, they need to produce more runs. In a perfect world, they would sign Melky Carbrera to a reasonable contract, and he would bat third. But, that’s probably not in the cards.
Instead, the Phillies need to consider other options that would plug the holes in their batting order and enable more runners to cross home plate. A good way to do this would be through the acquisition of a solid leadoff man, which is what Michael Bourn is billed to be.
But, there are areas of concern when evaluating Bourn’s potential role with the Phillies.
A leadoff man is supposed to get on base. Michael Bourn’s .347 OBP thus far is 58th in the majors. He also strikes out fairly often. This year, he has been called out on strikes 110 times. That’s the fourth most among major league outfielders. With two more, he’d be tied for second.
The Phillies are already one of baseball’s most undisciplined teams at the plate, which has been detrimental to their offense this year. Signing Michael Bourn could potentially exacerbate this situation.
Some may say that Bourn makes up for these flaws in his game with his ability to steal bases. But, he won’t be as effective in this regard for much longer. He is, after all, about to be 30. Players slow down with age. In fact, Bourn isn’t even among the top three leaders in base stealing. So, even though that may be a big part of his game, he’s not the best, and it's not a part worth $20 million.
At best, Michael Bourn is a good, solid, everyday outfielder on any ballclub. But, there are far too many problems that would make it very difficult to justify bringing him to Philadelphia, especially for the kind of money he’s going to want. Even if he was to make himself affordable, would he be a good fit? Would he be one of the missing pieces of the Phillies’ puzzle?
Michael Bourn doesn’t get on base enough, hardly has any power, is only batting .289, isn’t the game’s best base stealer and he’s getting older. If he comes to Philadelphia, by 2014 or 2015, the Phillies are going to have far too much money wrapped up in far too many old players.
So, seeing Michael Bourn in red pinstripes is a nightmarish offseason scenario.
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