Michael Bourn Re-Signs with Orioles: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2017

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 11:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles bats against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 11, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Duane Burleson/Getty Images

After playing well following an August trade to the Baltimore Orioles, Michael Bourn will return to the team in 2017 after agreeing to a new deal, MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko reported Monday.

According to the Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina, Bourn will receive $2 million if he makes the Orioles' Opening Day roster.

Bourn signed a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in May to help fill a void in their outfield. He hit .261/.307/.362 with 13 stolen bases and 21 extra-base hits in 329 at-bats. 

A late-season trade to the Baltimore Orioles seemed to rejuvenate Bourn, albeit in the small sample size of 24 games. The two-time All-Star hit .283/.358/.435 in 46 at-bats to help the Orioles win one of the American League wild-card spots. 

At this stage of Bourn's career, his role in the big leagues is unsettled. His offensive performance over the previous three seasons has seen a steep decline from his peak years. 

Michael Bourn Stats 2010-16 (MLB CF Rank)
SeasonsAVGOBPSBBsRDefensive ValueDRSWAR
2010-12.279 (11th).346 (T-8th)155 (1st)31.8 (1st)43.5 (1st)46 (1st)14.4 (3rd)
2013-16.256 (30th).314 (31st)65 (15th)10.0 (25th)-7.8 (36th)7 (17th)2.4 (43rd)
Source: FanGraphs.com

Bourn's game was always heavily predicated on speed, stealing bases and being an elite defender in center field. 

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Heading into his age-34 season in 2017, Bourn's legs are not going to be what they were when he was one of the best center fielders in Major League Baseball. He has displayed some versatility by moving to the corner spots, but those are traditionally for players with higher offensive profiles than he has. 

Due to the limitations in Bourn's game at this stage of his career, he's best served as a bench outfielder who can be an injury fill-in or provide defense late in games. It's not a sexy profile, though there are a lot of teams that would love to have his skill set in a pinch. 

Baltimore is a team that boasts virtually no speed in the lineup. The Orioles were far behind the 29 other MLB teams with just 19 stolen bases last season, so even a limited version of Bourn boasts more value for them because he can run better than anyone they have. 

Given that Bourn doesn't cost a lot of money at this stage of his career, the Orioles were wise to invest in him for another season after their marriage worked well at the end of 2016.