The Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to terms on a minor league deal with veteran outfielder Michael Bourn, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports on Friday morning.
With this transaction now under their belt, this becomes the Blue Jays second minor league signing of which has taken place within the past hours as veteran right-hander Roberto Hernandez was also brought in on similar terms, however, he is headed to Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin for extended spring training.
As it stands right now, Bourn will start out at the minor league level which will give the club a chance to evaluate the potential production that the 33-year-old could provide. When the time comes for him to join the team, it is said that he will earn a pro-rated portion of the league minimum.
Bourn came up with the Philidelphia Phillies back in 2006 after having been drafted by the club in the fourth round (16th overall) of the 2003 Amateur Draft. He later signed in July of that season.
How much more does Bourn have left in the tank?
Bourn started spring training with the Atlanta Braves before being designated for assigment just days prior to Opening Day, however, after the 10-day window quickly came to a close, the club was unscucessful finding a trade partner, giving them no choice but to let him go on April 12, as first reported by Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The club remains full with a surplus of outfielders in the mix which would make a permanent placement difficult to establish. From left to right, the Braves have Ender Inciarte, Drew Stubbs and Nick Markakis ready to go with Jeff Francouer on the bench to take over during off days or for the injured.
As noted by Rosenthal, Atlanta will pay all of Bourn’s $14M salary for the season which will go alongside the $507K he can earn for any time seen at the major league level.
Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca spoke with an executive following the club announcement where he was given a quote of which said Bourn could have something left while comparing him to the older version of former Blue Jay Ben Revere.
Bourn landed with the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline in August after a deal occurred which sent him, Nick Swisher and cash considerations the other way in exchange for infielder Chris Johnson.
Both GM Ross Atkins and president Mark Shapiro are familiar with Bourn as they once worked together in Cleveland prior to the resignation of Paul Beeston which urged the need for a change to take effect.
Bourn finished with a slash line of .238/.310/.282 to go alongside 30 RBI's and 17 stolen bases. Moving into Canada, Bourn could see starting time in center field as well as in the leadoff spot with manager John Gibbons continuing to switch up the starting lineup to give a change of scenery to Kevin Pillar and Michael Saunders.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have been seeking a replacement for A.J. Pollock who is out for a good chunk of the season after undergoing surgery to have a plate placed on his right olecranon fracture, which is the bone at the tip of the elbow.