It’s not quite an out of nowhere power explosion like Jose Bautista in 2010 or even Jacoby Ellsbury last season, but Braves center fielder Michael Bourn has already set a new career-high for homers in a season.
Bourn went deep yesterday for the sixth time in 57 games. His previous career-high was five homers, set in 2008 when he played 138 games. And in the three seasons since then Bourn had a total of seven homers in 456 games. In other words he’s never shown this type of power before, even in the minors.
And here’s the craziest part: All six of his homers have come in the last 24 games. Bourn had zero homers on May 11. Fast forward a month and suddenly he’s on pace for 17 homers after coming into the season with a grand total of 13 homers in 716 games and 2,663 plate appearances.
Along with adding significant thump at age 29 the impending free agent is also hitting a career-high .305 with a career-high .354 on-base percentage. He’s cut back some on the bases, stealing “only” 15 bags after leading the league in steals during each of the past three seasons, but if Bourn can maintain most of this new-found offensive production he doesn’t need to rely on his legs so much to provide value.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.