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Phillies lose out on B.J. Upton; will they turn to Michael Bourn?

Nov 28, 2012, 6:34 PM EDT

Michael Bourn AP

Michael Bourn was undoubtedly a stronger player than B.J. Upton in 2012, yet something surprising happened when free agency opened earlier this month; Bourn’s most recent team, the Braves, and his original team, the Phillies, both made Upton the priority in talks.

Did it have to do with the price tag? Bourn was seeking more money, but the figures were so astronomical with both that it hardly seemed likely to make all of the difference. Upton just got $15.05 million per year for five years from the Braves. Bourn was asking for a sixth year, but he never figured to do much better than the $75 million that Upton got.

It’s all really curious to me. I see Upton as the significantly better bet going forward, but I wasn’t really expecting the Braves or especially the Phillies to view it the same way. Upton is two years younger, which makes a real difference. Bourn, though, is the better fielder and the better leadoff candidate. Upton also has a reputation for not always hustling. No one seems to view him as a bad guy overall, but his head doesn’t always seem to be in the game. Bourn has no such reputation.

Anyway, most suspect the Phillies will now turn to Bourn. And maybe they will. Still, I don’t think they would have been all over Upton like they were if they were eager to pay Bourn’s price. They might mix in a changeup and target the less pricey Angel Pagan instead. They also haven’t ruled out bringing back Shane Victorino, though Victorino needs to get a whole lot more realistic about his salary demands first.

Bourn will still get his big payday, but now I suspect he may have to settle for a bit less than Upton got, whether it’s four years and $60 million or five years and $70 million.

  1. phillies816 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Bourn isn’t worth the money. I want Victorino or Pagan at this point

    • phillyreese215 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:42 PM

      im over shane in CF, we need better hitters. i rather have bourn, ross, and youklis.

      • ame123 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:44 PM

        Victorino has had one down year. He was a better hitter than all those guys in 2011.

      • siftin thru nonsense - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:06 AM

        another thing.. Victorino had the bad wrist last yr. so I think his numbers will be more like the 2011 numbers. His approach at the plate isnt great though. I would take him back if we can also add a power bat AND Hawaiin’s contract isnt for more than 2 yrs. I think Victorino wants lots of yrs. Ross is okay. He hasnt really gotten much more than 400 at bats though. He K’s a lot for 400 some at bats. Lotta K’s. He’s a nice 3 and half OF. I would also like Youke. Need pop at 3b. get youke in here. I think he can stay healthy enough to get some good at bats here and hit 25 homers in 2013.

  2. phillies816 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    BTW Upton isn’t worth the money either IMO

  3. phillyreese215 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    im hearing the Phillies are looking to trade for Carlos Gonzales.

    • illadelphiasphinest - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      If that were true, it would be soooo awesome. But there is no way it’s gonna happen.

  4. ame123 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Phillies also have the highest draft pick they have had in years. Signing Pagan or Victorino would allow them to retain it.

  5. njbrian67 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    I really really hope the Phils don’t go for Bourne. I know he’s a nice player, but committing 15 million a year for 4-5 years for a speedy, defensive CF with no power makes little sense to me. This team needs an injection of HR power, and it doesn’t look like third base is an option. I’d love to see them sign Hamilton for one corner, platoon Brown and Ruf in the other corner, and fill in Center with a cheaper defensive alternative (Shane looks attractive all of a sudden).

  6. illadelphiasphinest - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Please don’t over pay for Bourne. Now Upton is off the board at 5/75, Bourne will want to surpass that. N I don;t think he’s worth that. Rather have Hamilton at 4/100.

    • dan1111 - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:33 AM

      Just because he wants to make more money doesn’t mean he will. Upton is younger and a significantly better hitter overall. It’s not clear how much better of a defender Bourn is; it depends on what metric you look at.

  7. sknut - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Phillie fans would they have interest in Span he isn’t as good but much more friendly team contract.

    • siftin thru nonsense - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      Interesting way of writing that there. That sentence needs serious editing.

  8. proudlycanadian - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    If the Phillies want to save a bit of money, they could offer Halladay to the Jays for Rasmus, Drabek and Happ. The Jays might just do it.

    • ame123 - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:21 PM

      We’ll get back to you after the spring training velocity readings :)

    • dan1111 - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:23 AM

      The Jays would be giving up three useful players, two of whom are young and relatively high-ceiling. These players are under their control for a total of eight seasons (not including Drabek’s TJ surgery recovery).

      All of this so they could pay $20,000,000 for one season of a pitcher with injury question marks?

      • proudlycanadian - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:29 AM

        Doc would have to pass a medical; however, Doc would have a better chance to win a World Series in Toronto.

  9. phillyfan75 - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Phillies didn’t lose out on Upton, they were never in on him. They’ve been pursuing Pagan.

  10. billgatesbarber - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    C’mon Ruben, empty the pockets for Boris and Bourn!

    • tuberippin - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:12 PM

      Boris? Who would name their kid that in this day and age?

      Ohhhh…BORAS. Okay then.

  11. xmatt0926x - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    I didn’t want Bourn or Upton from the start. If they insist on signing Bourn I pray they don’t go above 4 years. Bourn’s threat is his speed, but we all know that will fade in 3 or 4 years. It’s not like he has a power bat that will still be there when he’s 34 or 35. Ruben, don’t give this guy 5 or 6 years!!!

    • stex52 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      I think Bourn might be a good move for them. But I agree, no more than 4 years and no more than 15 MM$ per.

      • siftin thru nonsense - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:25 AM

        He’ll probably want more than 4 yrs though.

  12. crisisjunky - Nov 29, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Drew Stubbs could literally be had for box of toothpicks.

    • paperlions - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:41 AM

      Not until the Reds have someone to replace him….and he can be had for that because he isn’t very good. He’s a 28 yr old below average player.

    • siftin thru nonsense - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      K’s wayyy too much.

  13. ryanrockzzz - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    I thought out of all the free agent “prizes” at CF that B.J. was the best fit for the Phillies However, he was just as good of a fit for the Braves. I think it’s a good signing for the team, and there’s nothing stopping them from moving in now on his brother as well, since Zona’ wants that shortstoop they have.

    RAJ had the better move of the two yesterday, adding to the teams biggest weakness, which is the back end of the bullpen with Wilton Lopez.

    Hopefully the Phillies realize all of the free agents out there are heading towards the decline portion of their careers in the next two years. A trade at this point seems to be the best option moving forward. (Hiesy/Stubbs/Spahn/or maybe even someone like Willingham.)

    I’m also a fan of the completely outlandish…so I wouldn’t mind see the Phillies sign Grienke and then flip Cliff Lee to the Royals for Will Myers and Alex Gordon.

    • paperlions - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:39 AM

      The Lopez deal hasn’t happened yet.

      There is no way Cliff Lee will bring back Myers and Gordon, even if the Phillies pay 100% of his salary. The Royals aren’t looking to get that old or to pay $87.5 M over 3 years or $102.5 M over 4 years (if the team option is exercised).

      The Phillies simply don’t have any valuable trade pieces because they good players all have contracts for too many years, too high an AAV, or both….so they would have to eat a lot of salary to get anything in return for them.

  14. phillies816 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    I agree with paperlions above. The Phillies don’t have much if anything with any real value to trade. Call me a bad fan but I would be content with them going on the cheap this year and starting to rebuild. The lack of quality players out there now is only driving up the price on the mediocre talent available and I for one would rather go through another bad season than continue to overpay. Howard, Rollins, Utley, Lee, and Papelbon are all overpaid and we can’t keep handing out bad contracts like the Yankees do. Sign Victorino and a 3rd baseman on the cheap and give it our best shot with that next year. It may not work but at least we won’t be stuck with yet another bad contract. If it doesn’t work I would start trying to dump Halladay, Lee, Howard, Utley, and Rollins at the deadline on whatever sucker err team that will take them.

  15. dasher521 - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    No to Bourn and Hamilton. They are too old, will both end up being overpaid for too long a period. They need to get younger. Trust in Rueben.

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