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The Bourn Disaster: Why the Philies Must Not Sign Michael Bourn

With the Philadelphia Phillies’ recent trades of Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, and Joe Blanton, general manager Ruben Amaro now has roughly $40 million to spend during the off season.

That’s about as dangerous as handing over your money to Bernie Madolf. Given Amaro’s propensity for overspending on players (Raul Ibanez, Jonathan Papelbon, and Cliff Lee just to name a few) and a bag of money at his disposal, I just get the feeling that he can’t wait to waste his money once again on another big name.

 That big name hopefully is not Michael Bourn, who is a likely free agent target for Amaro to fill center field. There’s a lot to like about

Speed alone doesn’t warrant the Phillies signing Michael Bourn.

Bourn. He is a terrific defensive center fielder, stole 54 bases per year in his first four full seasons, and has a .283 batting average over the last three seasons. But there are plenty of holes in Bourn’s game. He struck out an average of 125 times in his first four seasons and 111 times already in 2012, with an on-base percentage of just .337 over his career.

And as Bourn enters his 30-year-old season, look at how he compares to Jimmy Rollins in his previous four seasons.
                        Rollins vs. Bourn age 26-29
AVG    OBP    SLG    SB    HR    SO    BB    PA
Jimmy Rollins    .285    .341    .472    165    78    291    211    2,893
Michael Bourn    .283    .347   .382    203    15   498    216    2,513His average, OBP, and walks are almost exactly the same, but Rollins hit 63 more home runs and struck out 207 less times. Bourn is Jimmy Rollins with drastically less homers and immensely more strikeouts.
If the recent trades and salary dumping in 2012 means anything, the Phillies simply cannot pay $15 million a year for the next several years on a player with no power, a high strikeout rate, and a low on-base percentage. That is especially the case for a player entering his 30s in a career predicated on speed. The Phillies have enough expensive 30-something players. They don’t need another one.
Bourn five years ago was a terrific addition for the price,but Bourn in 2013 and beyond would be a disastrous financial decision for the Phillies.
I’ll leave you with the following description a scout provided to baseball writer Bob Brookover. “He strikes out a lot and doesn’t have a great on-base percentage,” the scout said. “He’s going to be 30 years old, and guys his age do not get faster. I’d be careful.”

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