3 Reasons Signing Michael Bourn Should Be Mariners' Top Offseason Priority
What was anticipated as being a big offseason for the Seattle Mariners has been anything but. To this point, Seattle has re-signed pitchers Oliver Pérez and Hisashi Iwakuma, traded for Robert Andino and Kendrys Morales, and signed free-agent outfielders Jason Bay and Raúl Ibañez.
Although Jack Zduriencik hasn't signed any marquee free agents this winter, several big names are still on the market. Among ESPN's top 50 free agents, two in the top 10 are still available: outfielder Michael Bourn and pitcher Kyle Lohse.
Any of the aforementioned star players would be a valuable and welcomed addition to the Pacific Northwest, but here's why the Mariners' front office should focus all their attention on two-time Gold Glove winner and All-Star Michael Bourn.
Photo courtesy of ESPN.com
Even with Safeco Field's recent renovations to bring in the outfield walls, it's still a big, cavernous ballpark that's perfect for doubles and triples hitters.
It's also a tough outfield to cover defensively. Michael Bourn can stretch singles into doubles, steal bases and cover a ton of ground in the outfield.
Safeco is perfect for players with Bourn's skill set, and if he joins Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders in the outfield, Seattle will have one of the fastest and best in baseball.
Definite Leadoff Hitter
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Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders among others hit leadoff last season, but they don't have a clear-cut guy to hit first in the lineup. Bourn would provide just that.
He averages 85 runs and 51 stolen bases per season, and would be the perfect spark plug for the M's offense. Seattle's lineup would be deadly with Bourn, Saunders, Kyle Seager and Morales at the top of the order (tons of speed and all left-handed bats). Bourn would also bring more veteran presence, something the Mariners have gained a lot of this offseason with the acquisitions of Ibañez and Morales.
Less Need for Power
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Seattle's biggest need headed into this offseason was a power hitter. Now that they have Morales and Ibañez, that need is less imperative. The Mariners need to build on what they have, which is a line-drive hitting, well fielding, fast team.
Michael Bourn has never been a power hitter, but with the additions of Ibañez and Morales, who hit a combined 41 home runs last year, the lineup needs to add guys to get on base so their sluggers can drive them in.
Bourn hits for a solid average (.272 career) and can score from second on any base hit. He would perfectly round out the order and bring the Mariners into contention in the AL West.