MLB Free Agency: Every MLB Team's Odds of Signing Free Agent Michael Bourn
The MLB 2013 class of free agents features an array of players with a wide variety of skill sets.
One particular name on the list offers a variety of tools that would fit well at the top of any team's lineup: center fielder Michael Bourn.
Bourn provides all of the prototypical leadoff skills—a solid on-base percentage, the ability to keep defenses with terrific bunting skills and the ability to steal a base at any given time.
Quite a few teams would love to add those elements at the top of their batting order. However, Bourn will likely come at a steep price, so each team will have to carefully weigh that factor against its other needs in order to make all the pieces fit financially.
We will take a look at each MLB team's needs and the chances that each team might have in acquiring Bourn's services.
1. Zero Percent
Quite a few teams are not in the running for the services of center fielder Michael Bourn for various reasons.
Here's a quick breakdown.
Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones is the face of the franchise in Baltimore. No room for Bourn.
Boston Red Sox: Definitely need outfield help, but with Jacoby Ellsbury currently in place, no room for Bourn in center field.
Chicago Cubs: Unless Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer completely go against their plan of building up the team through a stronger farm system and staying away from pricey free agents, Bourn won't be headed to Wrigley Field.
Chicago White Sox: The White Sox have needs, but outfield help isn't one of them.
Colorado Rockies: Unless Bourn can pitch at high altitudes, he's not headed to Denver.
Detroit Tigers: Austin Jackson is five years younger and coming into his own as a leadoff hitter. No chance here for Bourn.
Houston Astros: Bourn has been there and done that—not heading back anytime soon.
Los Angeles Angels: A pretty decent young player by the name of Mike Trout has center field locked down in Anaheim.
Los Angeles Dodgers: A five-tool star in Matt Kemp stands in Bourn's way here.
Minnesota Twins: GM Terry Ryan is looking for pitchers. While they could dangle center fielder Denard Span in a potential deal, they won't be looking to spend to replace Span.
New York Yankees: With Curtis Granderson's option picked up, I don't see a play here for Bourn.
Oakland Athletics: Solid outfield already even without the trade that brought in center fielder Chris Young.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Pretty decent center fielder with Andrew McCutchen in place.
San Diego Padres: The Padres seem committed to Cameron Maybin, and pitching is their biggest need right now.
St. Louis Cardinals: Cardinals definitely set in outfield with Jon Jay, Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran.
Tampa Bay Rays: Even with B.J. Upton likely leaving town, I don't see Andrew Friedman going after Bourn.
That takes care of over half of MLB. Let's now look at the odds of the other 14 MLB teams.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Two Percent
The Arizona Diamondbacks have already been active in the early part of the offseason.
They were part of a three-team trade that sent center fielder Chris Young, along with cash, to the Oakland Athletics. In return, the D-Backs received reliever Heath Bell from the Miami Marlins and infielder Cliff Pennington from the A's.
Even with Young gone, the Diamondbacks still have four outfielders in Justin Upton, Gerardo Parra, Jason Kubel and Adam Eaton. They also have promising prospect A.J. Pollock waiting in the wings.
It's clear that general manager Kevin Towers isn't even close to done reshaping his roster for the 2013 season.
Rumors abound about the availability of Upton, and while the Diamondbacks may be looking for help on the left side of the infield, there's a very slight chance that a play could be made for center fielder Michael Bourn.
Towers could be so inclined to deal both Upton and Kubel if the right circumstances presented themselves, leaving a potential opening in the outfield.
Atlanta Braves: Three Percent
Center fielder Michael Bourn turned down a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer from the Atlanta Braves. However, that does not mean the door has completely closed on a return to Atlanta.
Many are of the belief that the Braves simply won't meet the asking price for Bourn, which is likely to be at least five years and $75 million.
The Braves could go after cheaper free-agent alternatives like Angel Pagan or even move to acquire a center fielder via the trade route.
Bourn's chances to return to Atlanta certainly appear to be dwindling as time passes by at this point.
Cincinnati Reds: Eight Percent
Cincinnati Reds leadoff hitters managed just a .254 on-base percentage in the 2012 season—by far the lowest in the National League.
Center fielder Michael Bourn sported a .348 on-base percentage for the Atlanta Braves in 2012.
No question that Bourn is one of the players that Reds general manager Walt Jocketty will take a hard look at this offseason. Drew Stubbs continues to disappoint, and Bourn would give them a leadoff presence to help support an excellent lineup.
However, are the Reds willing to spend the kind of money that Bourn will likely command? Jocketty could go for cheaper alternatives like Angel Pagan. In addition, they have speedy prospect Billy Hamilton, who likely needs one more year of seasoning in the minors before making his MLB debut.
Bourn could be an option, but if the asking price continues to head north of $75 million, don't expect the Reds to bite.
Cleveland Indians: One Percent
The Cleveland Indians have several areas of need to be addressed this offseason.
In the outfield, left field was certainly an area of concern. Combined, left fielders recorded a .215/.277/.321 slash line in 2012. The Tribe could move Michael Brantley back to left field to accommodate the signing of center fielder Michael Bourn.
However, that's not a likely scenario. The Indians need help at first base and in the starting rotation. While adding Bourn would make the Indians' lineup more potent at the top, spending upwards of $75 million to facilitate the transaction is highly unlikely, especially with other needs to be taken care of.
Kansas City Royals: One Percent
Kansas City Royals owner David Glass made a promise at the end of the 2012 regular season.
Glass said he would spend money this offseason to help upgrade his team.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that he meant for the money to be used to bolster his starting rotation.
I don't think Glass had free-agent center fielder Michael Bourn in mind when he made that promise.
Miami Marlins: One Percent
The Miami Marlins are a team in transition for the second offseason in a row.
At least this time they're not switching uniforms, logos or stadiums.
They've already started the transition process. In fact, they started in July with the purging of Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Edward Mujica, Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez from their roster.
They've switched managers as well, going with newcomer Mike Redmond to start the 2013 season.
Other changes will definitely occur between now and the start of spring training for Miami as well.
However, it's more than likely that free-agent center fielder Michael Bourn won't be taking his talents to South Beach, especially with the Marlins looking to keep payroll down under 2012 levels.
Milwaukee Brewers: Two Percent
The Milwaukee Brewers saw 26-year-old center fielder Carlos Gomez come into his own during the 2012 season.
Gomez hit .260 with 19 HR, 51 RBI and 37 stolen bases, spending the majority of his time batting either second or seventh in the Brewers batting order.
Gomez has played both corner outfield positions during his career, but sparingly. While Corey Hart could move from right field to first base full time to accommodate a move to right field for Gomez, it's unlikely.
Michael Bourn would absolutely fill a need for the Brewers in terms of a capable leadoff hitter, but it's doubtful they would go that route at this point.
New York Mets: Five Percent
Last offseason, the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants swapped center fielders, with the Giants receiving Angel Pagan and the Mets getting Andres Torres in return.
It's pretty clear by now who won that trade.
Torres hit just .230 with three homers and 35 RBI in 130 games for the Mets. It's entirely possible that he could be a non-tender candidate for the Mets.
Bringing in more firepower for the Mets offense will be one of the priorities for general manager Sandy Alderson, as well as bolstering a sagging bullpen.
With the Mets' ongoing financial issues, it's a stretch to think they'd invest $75 million or so in acquiring Michael Bourn.
But stranger things have happened in Queens.
Philadelphia Phillies: 20 Percent
The Philadelphia Phillies are in a strange position this offseason.
After winning the NL East Division title for five consecutive seasons—including a World Series championship—the Phillies were on the outside looking in following the 2012 regular season.
In addition, they found themselves with several holes needing to be filled during the offseason. The trades of Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino depleted their outfield, and other positions (third base, bullpen) need upgrades as well.
Free-agent center Michael Bourn is clearly on the radar for the Phillies this winter. For one, Bourn would provide the Phillies with an excellent leadoff presence, moving Jimmy Rollins down in the order to add more run scoring opportunities.
In addition, I can't imagine the Phillies are entirely comfortable with John Mayberry patrolling center full time. No question Bourn's terrific defensive abilities would be a huge upgrade.
The Phillies are clearly looking to remake a roster that looked old and slow last season. The addition of Bourn would certainly help in that regard.
San Francisco Giants: 12 Percent
The San Francisco Giants will be on the hunt for outfielders this offseason.
Melky Cabrera is almost certainly gone, and Angel Pagan is a free agent who will attract attention from several teams.
Gregor Blanco provided inspirational help in the absence of Cabrera and played admirably during the postseason. However, he seems best suited as a fourth outfield option.
Center fielder Michael Bourn could certainly be in play for the Giants this offseason.
Pagan could re-sign with the Giants, but given the exposure he received during the postseason, he is going to be in play for several teams who are looking for a cheaper alternative.
Bourn gives the Giants a natural leadoff presence, plus terrific defensive abilities that are vital in the spacious outfield at AT&T Park.
Seattle Mariners: Five Percent
The Seattle Mariners have featured the worst offense in the American League in terms of scoring runs for the past four seasons.
General manager Jack Zduriencik will be looking for ways to correct that obvious flaw.
To that end, he'll be looking for both run-producers and those who create run-scoring opportunities.
Free agent-center fielder Michael Bourn definitely qualifies for the latter.
Michael Saunders performed admirably in filling in for the oft-injured Franklin Gutierrez in center for the Mariners. But outfield is definitely an area of need this offseason for the M's.
Bourn's table-setting skills will certainly be attractive, but with the Mariners moving the fences in at Safeco Field, they may be more inclined to bring in the power bats at this point.
Texas Rangers: Eight Percent
The Texas Rangers will be awaiting the decision of Josh Hamilton first before deciding what their options are for center field in 2013.
Hamilton will be the prize of the free-agent class this winter, and while there's still a possibility he returns to Texas, general manager Jon Daniels will have a Plan B in place.
Whether or not that Plan B includes making an offer to free-agent center fielder Michael Bourn remains to be seen.
Bourn certainly can't serve as a replacement for Hamilton's production, but the table-setting skills would serve well for the likes of Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and the rest of the Rangers lineup.
Toronto Blue Jays: Seven Percent
The Toronto Blue Jays certainly have a wish list for this offseason, and that list will include taking a look at available outfielders.
Currently, the Jays have Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus in place, with youngsters Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra likely to vie for playing time as well.
While Rasmus can capably patrol center field, free-agent center fielder Michael Bourn garnered a 6.0 rWAR—including a dWAR of 3.0—good for sixth and second in the NL respectively.
In addition, Bourn would give the Jays a leadoff presence that's been lacking in recent years and help their overall on-base percentage, which ranked second-to-last in the American League last season.
Washington Nationals: 25 Percent
If there was any team on this list that seems like a natural fit for free agent center fielder Michael Bourn, it's the Washington Nationals.
There's a very good chance that first baseman Adam LaRoche could sign with another team. In that scenario, Michael Morse would transition from left field to take over at first and Bryce Harper could move from center to left field.
A natural fit.
General manager Mike Rizzo has already stated that the Nationals are "open for any or all type of situations that help us get better."
Bourn definitely helps the Nationals to get better.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.
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