Peter Bourjos is a reigning gold glove winner. Probably the best defensive center fielder in the game. But the dude has been riding pine like crazy lately:
Peter Bourjos’ game-changing speed and Gold Glove-caliber defense don’t do the Angels any good on the bench, but that’s where those tools were again Wednesday night. The center fielder was not in the lineup for the ninth time in 11 games, his playing time greatly reduced by the April 27 promotion of Mike Trout from triple A, but his attitude remaining upbeat and optimistic.
Hitting .192/.259/.288 will do that for you. And when the guy taking your place is both one of the most highly-touted prospects in the game, is himself great with the glove and has started out hitting really, really well, the bench is in your future.
It’s kind of tough for Anaheim. On the one hand, you have Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter in the corners — and neither of them are long term members of the team in all likelihood — so the idea of sliding Trout to right and keeping Bourjos’ glove in the game is appealing. On the other hand, with the offense struggling as much as it has, even Vernon Wells is an upgrade over Bourjos.
Ultimately, whether Bourjos’ 2011 season — in which he posted a .765 OPS — represents his true level will determine his future. If he hits like that, it’ll play with his leather. If not, he’s gonna see a lot more bench time in his future.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.