The New York Yankees outfield seems to be all but set entering the 2013 season. However, following Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe's report that the team is "quietly interested" in free agent Michael Bourn, wonder and excitement began to fill the air.
That excitement has already been tampered thanks to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com. According to a source with knowledge, there is "no chance" the Yankees will sign the 30-year-old center fielder.
The Yankees have not made a big move this offseason and are serious about lowering their payroll. Scott Boras being Bourn's agent immediately makes this a difficult match.
But what if the Yankees were able to strike an affordable deal to bring Bourn to New York? His addition to the Yankee roster would provide plenty of benefits that would certainly improve the team going into next season.
Speed is the biggest weapon in Bourn's arsenal.
With Brett Gardner out for most of last season with an injury, the Yankees were in desperate need of some speed. They relied heavily on the home run to provide the offense all season. When the home run disappeared in the postseason, the Yankees were left with nothing.
Bourn instantly gives them a huge threat on the base paths and a true leadoff hitter. Bourn has stolen at least 40 bases in each of the last five seasons.
It is more than just the physical stolen base that will aid the Yankees offense. It's the simple threat he provides on the basepaths. Drawing the focus of the pitcher away from the hitter will eventually lead them to making a mistake to the dangerous hitters in the middle of the Yankees lineup.
Bourn will become the Yankees pitcher's best friend defensively.
Bourn is one of the best center fielders in baseball. Per FanGraphs, Bourn topped all center fielders in UZR and defensive runs saved in 2012.
Having Bourn in the outfield is addition by addition. Getting Curtis Granderson out of center field is addition by subtraction. Granderson rates as one of the worst defenders in the league.
The move allows the Yankees to go forward with their idea of moving Granderson to left field, where he would be significantly better.
An outfield rotation that has Bourn in it will allow the Yankees pitchers the confidence to pitch to contact knowing the outfield gaps will be well covered on any fly ball.
Bourn has played in at least 140 games each of the last four seasons. That doesn't seem to be a significant impact, but when you are dealing with a player of his mold it is.
Bourn has been able to keep his legs healthy throughout his career. Ichiro is not getting any younger, and Gardner had a difficult time recovering from injuries last season.
The ability to be relied on day in and day out is vastly important to a team of aging players who frequent the disabled list once or twice a season.
If the Yankees are going to spend money on a player, the least they can do is spend it on a player who will be on the field more often than not.
Bourne's addition could make Gardner or Granderson expendable.
This article relies on the idea that the Yankees were able to sign Bourn to a reasonable contract. The reason that is important is because as stated previously the Yankees have a complete outfield going into next season.
Bringing in Bourn could allow the Yankees to move one of their existing players. According to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com, the Yankees are willing to listen to offers on Curtis Granderson. That makes sense due to the fact that Granderson becomes a free agent at the end of the season.
The likelihood the Yankees can afford to bring him back is low, so a trade seems fitting. The problem with trading Granderson is the loss of the power that he provides the offense.
If they decide to keep Granderson, they could potentially create a scenario where they move Gardner. Gardner and Bourn are similar players in their style of play, and Gardner could fit a club that needs a speed guy themselves.
The Yankees believe in the idea you can never have enough pitching. The same can be said for valuable assets at low cost, and if that can come in the shape of Bourn then the Yankees can work with the tools they have.