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Yankees “quietly interested” in free agent Michael Bourn?

Dec 16, 2012, 3:33 PM EDT

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The Nationals and Phillies seemed like the most logical potential suitors for free agent center fielder Michael Bourn when this offseason got underway.

But the Nats traded for Denard Span and the Phils traded for Ben Revere, both from the Twins. Which has everybody wondering where Bourn will now land.

Here’s one theory — if we can call it that — from the well-connected Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:

It will be interesting to see where Bourn’s market goes. Some believe the Yankees are quietly interested and will pounce if the price comes down, which would give them the leadoff hitter they have wanted for some time.

Cafardo also mentions the Rangers — who are desperate for some kind of splash — as a “possibility.”

The Yankees are trying to get their payroll under $189 million by the start of the 2014 season to avoid another luxury tax hit and haven’t seriously engaged any free agents who are thought to be seeking long-term deals. But Bourn might ultimately come pretty cheap, and he does fit one of the Bombers’ primary needs.

Bourn batted .274/.348/.391 with a career-high nine home runs and 57 RBI across 703 plate appearances this past season for the Braves. The fleet-footed 29-year-old also stole 42 bases in 55 attempts.

  1. proudlycanadian - Dec 16, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    If he comes cheap enough, they might even go beyond 1 year and let Granderson become a free agent next season.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      Granderson’s gone next year regardless. The Yankees can only afford to re-sign either Cano OR Granderson and have any hope of staying under the tax threshold in 2014.

  2. doctorfootball - Dec 16, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Some team, like the Rangers, is going to get desperate and offer Bourn more than the Yanks.

    • dondada10 - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      If the Dodgers think they need a pinch-runner late in games they’ll sign Bourn to 4/48.

  3. kkolchak - Dec 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    What’s the difference between being “interested” and “quietly interested?” Does the Yankee front office only communicate by sign language while discussing it?

    • privy1014 - Dec 18, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      I take it as the Yanks do not have a real interest in Michael Bourn. Did you ever think Bourn’s agent is hoping the Yanks come into play. I don’t see them making him an offer unless they move Granderson.

  4. uyf1950 - Dec 16, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    If Bourn decides to take a 1 year deal so he can become a free agent again next year the Yankees will be on him like “white on rice”.

    • kkolchak - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Yeah, but so would a lot of other teams…that’s the point. The man ain’t getting any younger and wants to be paid now.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 16, 2012 at 5:22 PM

        The man only turns 30 the end of this month.

      • kkolchak - Dec 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM

        Yeah–and how old was Carl Crawford the first season after he signed his big deal with the Red Sox? Oh, that would be 29. Bourn needs to get paid now before he loses a step and much of his value.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 16, 2012 at 7:26 PM

        kkolchak, your reply makes no sense. We can all make comparisons to make our point. For example how old was Jayson Werth when he was signed to 7 year/$126MM contract? Oh, that’s right he turned 32 in the 1st year of that contract. Each players circumstances are different.

      • kkolchak - Dec 16, 2012 at 9:21 PM

        Each player’s circumstance might be different, but I’m giving you a very good reason why Bourn would want to be paid now coming off a career season entering his 30s. If his production falls off dramatically next year, he’s hosed and will never get his payday.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:06 AM

        kkolchak, there is no “might” be different. They are all different. As for “IF” his production falls off “dramatically” as you say. That’s true. But again there is always the flip side of that coin and if his production goes up. Besides it’s not like teams are knocking down his door right now and offering him this ridiculously large contract. As for his production falling dramatically. Short of a major injury (which could happen) I doubt that would be the case when you look at his offensive numbers. In fact, a 1 year stint with the Yankees at Yankee Stadium would probably be very beneficial to his numbers. A left handed batter in Yankee Stadium generally tends to improve his numbers. You need look no further then the 38 year old the Yankees got for the last 9 weeks of the 2012 season, Ichiro. Of course there is a risk for Bourn if he took a 1 year deal but the reward could be very substantial and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a player opted for a 1 year deal to try and increase his value the next time in FA. Just my opinion.

  5. pisano - Dec 16, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Hopefully they are working on something to move Granderson and will replace him with Bourn.

  6. rhmurphy - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    What does Bourn do that Gardner doesn’t do?

    • pisano - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM

      Get on base, Gardner strikes out too much for a leadoff hitter. Bourn is faster and will probably steal more bases. Ideally Gardner is a 9 hole hitter, also he’s not real strong against left handed pitching.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM

        Bourn has a significantly lower career OBP and a significantly higher career strikeout rate. Bourn and Gardner are also pretty comparable base stealers. There’s really not a whole hell of a lot of difference between the two, actually.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:41 PM

        Get on base(1), Gardner strikes out too much for a leadoff hitter(2). Bourn is faster and will probably steal more bases(3). Ideally Gardner is a 9 hole hitter, also he’s not real strong against left handed pitching(4).

        Career Numbers:

        1 – Gets on base
        Gardner – .355 OBP, 11.0% walk rate
        Bourn – .339 OBP, 8.8% walk rate

        2 – Strikes out too much
        Gardner – 16.7% K rate
        Bourn – 20.2% K rate

        3 – Steal more bases
        Gardner – 137/167 in stolen bases for a 82% rate
        Bourn – 276/340 in stolen bases for a 81% rate

        4 – not real strong against LH Pitching:
        Gardner – .256/.362/.335
        Bourn – .249/.306/.336

        Bourn has played more games than Gardner, hence the more steal opportunities, but everything you said was wrong.

      • spudchukar - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:48 PM

        All salient points Church, however it should be remembered that Gardner is sometimes platooned, and that tends to skew the numbers somewhat.

      • spudchukar - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM

        Regarding the SBs, one thing that should be remembered is that percentage is not the only way to judge base stealers. Some only pick certain situations, and do not force the issue. Some are more daring. It is a lot harder to steal 40 out of 50 bases than 20 out of 25. Plus the base runners who steal early in the count also benefits the team, as it doesn’t force the hitter into a pitcher count.

        You can make the argument that runners shouldn’t force the issue, but maintaining an 80% success rate, kinda makes that point moot.

      • vallewho - Dec 16, 2012 at 5:21 PM

        The only reason Garner has never gotten the type of attention that I believe that he deserves is that he does not hold a big contract and obviously has never been a free agent.

    • spudchukar - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:19 PM

      This would leave the Yanks with the outfield trio or Gardner, Ichiro, and Bourn, and while it might be the fastest outfield in MLB history, it isn’t exactly murderers row.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 16, 2012 at 5:27 PM

        My friend I think fans here may be underestimating the effect on the right field porch on Bourn’s power numbers if he was to be in pinstripes. Will he hit 40 HR’s I doubt it but there is no reason he can’t hit 20 to 25 like Swisher has the past 2 years.

      • spudchukar - Dec 16, 2012 at 5:40 PM

        Mi Amigo, I do not think your contention is crazy, but it is Ichiro who is more likely to achieve those numbers. In the old days with the power the Yanks possessed in the infield, the aforementioned outfield would be interesting and just might work, but without the production at 3B, and questions about Cano and Texeira, one has to be concerned about RBI production.

        However, at this point, the argument for Bourn is valid, cause I do not see any other options that are superior. If Granderson can be kept, to DH, maybe the power will be there.

        There are problems however; very left-handed line-up, and the commitment to Bourn would have to be for a number of years, so the Yanks better secure some right-handed power, when they face tough lefties.

  7. fhuizar - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    The Yankees on a budget

    The cash is out west now

  8. genericcommenter - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    How is he any more of a lead-off hitter compared to Jeter or even Gardner? He doesn’t even get on base that much. He would’ve had one of the worst OBP of all Yankees regulars last season. He hits and steals similar to Gardner, and old man Jeter gets on a base and scores runs at a higher clip.

  9. pisano - Dec 16, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    church….. I stand corrected, I didn’t realize they’re stats were that close, but Gardner is great in the field, no denying that.

    • spudchukar - Dec 16, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      He isn’t great, he cannot throw. He covers a lot of ground, but range is his main asset.

  10. cackalackyank - Dec 16, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Quietly interested=you are the “Mystery team”. Noisily interested= Any rumor involving the NYY. (So they can bid against themselves like in the good old days) Since this has been posted on the internet this is not “Quietly Interested”.

  11. banksatdixie - Dec 16, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    This smells like an agent leaking stuff. Cashman and his front office are relatively tight lipped. I can’t see this making any sense to begin with, but I am certain if it were true we wouldn’t know about it.

  12. buffalomafia - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    If george was alive he’d kill his sons! As a true blue yankee fan looks like the yankees are going back to the stankies!

  13. anxovies - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    I am quietly interested in Kate Upton. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012_swimsuit/models/kate-upton/?sct=swimhp_t3_a15

  14. necr0philia - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    I hope he goes broke and no one picks him up. And moves into a downtown trash can and eats worms all night long for dinner and his agent is his neighbor living in an old refrigerator box.

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