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Peter Bourjos is firmly planted on the Angels’ bench

Jun 11, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Getty Images

Peter Bourjos has started just two of the Angels’ last nine games as the combination of his poor first two months and Mike Trout‘s arrival pushed the Opening Day center fielder to the bench.

Bourjos is an amazing defensive center fielder who last season hit well enough to be one of the best all-around outfielders in the league, but he’s lost 200 points of OPS so far this season and apparently the Angels would rather have the 25-year-old collect dust than play regularly at Triple-A.

“Peter has a role on our team and he’s going to help us win games, although it’s not a role he had last year,” manager Mike Scioscia told Trey Scott of “It’s difficult for a young player that has the ability to play every day but isn’t in there, but Peter is going to help us win games.”

Last year Bourjos started 138 of 162 games and logged 552 plate appearances. This year he’s on pace to start just 77 games and log 292 plate appearances, which is an awfully odd approach to take with a very promising young outfielder even if the Angels are forced to make some less than idea playing time decisions because of their glut of corner bats.

Scioscia is essentially locked in to Trout, Mark Trumbo, and Torii Hunter as the everyday outfield, with Albert Pujols at first base and Kendrys Morales at designated hitter. All five of those guys are plenty productive, so the fact that Bourjos isn’t starting over one of them regularly should be less up for debate than whether playing at Triple-A is better than sitting in the majors.

And every team in need of a long-term center fielder should be calling Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto about Bourjos constantly.

  1. hoopmatch - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    And I got stuck with the guy on my fantasy team…

  2. Ben - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    I hope Pourjos is a portmanteau of poor+Bourjos, as in poor Bourjos, he was a 4.5 WAR player last year, and this year he’s stuck on the bench.

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Release Wells. He’s worth more to LAA off their damn roster. Clearly. It’ll suck, it’ll cost a bajillion unbudgeted dollars, but it is what it is.

  4. js20011041 - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    They should just go ahead and trade him. If they’re going to keep Trout in center, then Bourjos really doesn’t offer a whole lot of value for them. What makes Bourjos valuable (speed and defense) is really only existant if he is in CF. He doesn’t offer the kind of power you would want in a corner outfielder and letting him rot on the bench is only going to accomplish two things. Let his skills atrophy and drive down what trade value he does have.

    • garylanglais - Jun 11, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      One can wonder if Bourjos could move from playing with the #1-A prospect to playing with the #1-B prospect in Bryce Harper. Nationals were linked to many CF’s this off season and Bourjos would fit into young, pitching/defense team mentality the Nationals have created.

      Potential problems are: Where do the Nationals see Harper’s permanent position being? Morse/LaRoche conflict. What are they going to do with Jayson Werth? Is Lombardozzi expected to remain on big league team?

      • shawndc04 - Jun 11, 2012 at 2:37 PM

        On of the keys is whether the Nationals decide to keep LaRoche after this season. If they decide to keep him there is no room for Bourjos, at least as a starter. If the Nationals decide not to keep LaRoche and move Morse back to first, they might be in the market for a center fielder, with Werth and Harper at the corners. Ankiel will be gone after this year, and management just does not seem to like Bernadina. That said, the Nationals also have a couple of good CF prospects in the minors, so I really don’t see them going after Bourjos until the off season, if at all.

    • Jeremy T - Jun 11, 2012 at 5:57 PM

      I dunno, Gardner has been pretty valuable for the Yankees in LF the last few years as that same type of player. Dumping Wells and sticking Bourjos in left would still provide value.

  5. Glen - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    I love watching Bourjos in CF but as mentioned, with Trout/Trumbo/Hunter in the OF he just doesn’t have a place to start, and all of those three bring more to the plate than Bourjos does (although with more ABs he may get better and start to show signs of last year’s numbers). However, Scioscia loves to have him as a late-inning defensive replacement so he won’t go back to AAA. I feel for the kid, but that’s baseball.

  6. hep3 - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Why trade Bourjos? Torii Hunter is gone after this year’s contract expires.

    • jarathen - Jun 11, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      Unless DiPoto trades or releases Wells, the outfield in Anaheim in 2013-2014 would be Wells-Trout-Trumbo.

      The Angels should trade Bourjos and Wells in one package for a high salary pitcher of some kind.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:22 PM

        No one’s going to take Wells – there’s a slight chance if they pay his entire salary, but that’s it.

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