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The Bourn disaster: why the Phillies must not sign Michael Bourn
by Scott Butler 8/12/12

With the Phillies' recent trades of Victorino, Pence, and Blanton, 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 (Ibanez, Papelbon, and Lee just to name a few) and an empty 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 Ruben Amaro to fill center field. There's a lot to like about Michael 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 2,513

His average, OBP, and walks are almost exactly the same, but Jimmy hit 63 more home runs and struck out 207 less times. Bourn is Jimmy Rollins with drastically less homers and immensely more strike outs.

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 thirties in a career predicated on speed. The Phillies have enough expensive 30 something players. They don't need another one.

Michael Bourn five years ago was a terrific addition for the price. But Michael 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 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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