In making their trades earlier this week, the Phillies showed they weren’t interested in paying Hunter Pence or Shane Victorino market value in 2013. Now they have three outfield spots in flux going forward, and while they’re hoping Dominic Brown can hold down right field, there’s already plenty of speculation that they might target free agent-to-be Michael Bourn to fill center.
Corey Seidman breaks it all down at CSNPhilly.com, trying to figure out how much Bourn will command this winter and whether the Phillies could sign him and still fill other needs.
Personally, I’d pass on Bourn. He was a deserving All-Star this year, but a lot of that is his defense. Players with his offensive profile haven’t aged very well. Kenny Lofton might be the obvious comparable, but Bourn simply isn’t at his level. A career .275/.338/.369 hitter, he’s actually much closer to Luis Polonia (.294/.342/.369), Roger Cedeno (.275/.342/.374) and Tom Goodwin (.277/.340/.337) through age 29. Lofton was at .313/.379/.431 through his age-29 season.
If the Phillies could pay a premium to get Bourn to agree to a three-year deal, then he might be worth it. However, the guess here is that he’ll probably get five years from someone.
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.