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.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.