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Report: Cubs "have had conversations with Michael Bourn's agent"

Report: Cubs "have had conversations with Michael Bourn's agent"

Bruce Levine writes that the Cubs "have had conversations with Michael Bourn's agent".  Bourn is coming off an excellent season, putting up a 6.4 WAR largely on the basis of his stellar defense and baserunning ability.  As a hitter, he's right around average, batting .274/.348/.391.

He's a great player and would fill a big void in CF, but he was said to be seeking a 5 year deal worth close to $100M.  Considering you're talking about a 30 year old speed player, this doesn't seem like a move Theo or any rebuilding GM would make.

Unless...

  • He's willing to do a short term deal.
  • This is just Scott Boras, Bourn's agent, playing games by drawing interest in his client.  Everyone knows the Cubs have money.  Everyone knows they need a CF.  Boras "has had conversations." Hmmm.  Just vague enough to mean anything and just juicy enough to send the Chicago and even the national media to their keyboards to spread the word.  Maybe trying to light a fire under the Phillies.

We'll see if this has legs.  Until then, call me skeptical.

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  • Four or five years from now Almora should be coming off a dominating year at Iowa.

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    In reply to SFToby:

    4 or 5 years?
    Only if he misses a bunch of time with injuries.
    From what I've read, he is extremely polished for his age and even BA predicted a quick rise through the minors.
    If he's not in Wrigley by 2015 I'll be disappointed.

  • In reply to AdolphoPhillips67:

    In which case we can move the CF into a corner or trade him. I doubt we're going to actually end up with Bourn, but I would like to see an impact FA signed.

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    How is Bourn "a great player"?

    He has one tool: speed.

    He's not much of a hitter, in fact, he's been extremely streaky. A .272 career hitter who averages only 85 runs scored per season along with 40 rbi. He's 30 next year, the age when historically players start to lose their speed. Which could happen at 30-31-32, nobody knows, but there have been very few players who didn't drop off like a rock in the speed department by the time they hit 35, and that was the likes of Rickey Henderson and Davey Lopes.

    The Cubs don't need to be signing ridiculous deals like Bourn is going to get. This is Carl Crawford 2.0, stay far far away from this nonsense.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    His defense is easily the best in the NL. Average hitter. Well above average baserunner. Had a 6.4 WAR last year and has not been under 4 since 2008. That's a great player.

    That said, I agree. We don't need this guy on a long term deal.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Bourn's WAR by year:

    2012: 6.0
    2011: 3.0
    2010: 5.3
    2009: 4.7
    2008: -0.7
    2007: 0.9

    .272 career hitter. Doesn't score more runs than any other leadoff man, in fact he scores fewer runs than many other leadoff men who do not run as well. He plays good defense, which is not hard to find. He has great speed. But he's also going to be 30, wants 5 year deal at something in the $15-20 mil per year range. He's worth about 1/3rd of that yearly salary in my book, and I still wouldn't go over 3 years, and that if he were a perfect match and my team was a contender. The Cubs don't match up with him on any level.

    I pray Theo learned from the few bad moves he made in Boston. The Crawford signing was historically dumb and inept at the time it was made, no hindsight needed.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    I used Fangraphs WAR. Defensive metrics are better. Anyway, I'm only talking about the last 4 years. On your list that's an average of 4.75. That's a darn good player.

    I'm not saying he's right for the Cubs or that I want them to sign him, just that he is currently a very good player now. Probably won't be for long and it will almost certainly be for another team.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Does Levine have any interest in Boras, Inc.?
    Terrible idea! Bourn is 30 and his greatest assets, speed/defense will only decline from now on.
    I posted on the other article that I like Sweeney as a short-term fix, with possible longer term value.

  • In reply to AdolphoPhillips67:

    Could be a little back scratching going on there on both sides.

  • Have to think this is just the FO blowing smoke, much like the whole Pujols/Fielder stuff last year. That said, if 2-3 years was somehow remotely possible I'm not sure I'd be completely opposed to it.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    Yep.

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    In reply to Furiousjeff:

    The Pujols-Fielder stuff struck me as a marriage of convenience. It simultaneously gave Pujols leverage against the Cardinals (and as it turned out, Angels) and gave the Cubs leverage against the Padres ("I dunno, Cashner *and* Jackson is a bit much, and we can just go sign Albert to play first"). I would guess Fielder got something out of it, too, but that deal wasn't finalized, so we'll never know about it.

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    With Boras as his agent this player has bad value written all over him. I agree. Boras is just trying to shake people's cages and get someone to panic.

  • Pitching
    Pitching
    Pitching

    That is what Jed/Theo should be working on.....

    Cubs have BJax, Soler, Almora, Szczur in the wings......

    Has anyone reserved a Greyhound ticket yet for Ian Stewart?

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I wouldn't let that list of prospects stop me from getting an OF though Bourn or not. I'd be happy if one of those guys turns out to be a fixture.

  • Theo should tell Boras he needs to save bonus $$$$ for his 2nd round draft pick.

  • That is interesting and unexpected. It either shows how much they don't believe in Jackson or that they will be trying to move Soriano.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    I don't think it's real. I think the Cubs talked to Boras, but about a deal? Especially a 100M deal? Nahh.

    Either they talked about golf or Theo mentioned he would do this on a 1 or 2 year deal, high AAV (with Theo intending to flip him at deadline). Boras then uses the opportunity to take this news to the press to get other teams thinking that a big market team is involved.

  • They need to sign the 2 players the Indians just non tendered. They is some good talent getting non tendered.

  • As they taught me in J-School, "consider the source." Mr. Levine, I am quite skeptical about this whole story.

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    If Hendry were still out GM, I'd be terrified that we'd have have Bourn on a 4-/80 deal (Jim talked 'em off 5!) tomorrow. As it is, I have confidence that if there's anything to this at all, it's Theo keeping the lines of communication open so he can swoop and grab him on a one year deal if the opportunity presents itself.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes. If this were Hendry I'd be watching this rumor with a different perspective, one of great fear.

  • Boras: Hi, can I speak with Theo/Jed please?
    Theo/Jed: Hi Scott. What can we do for you today?
    Boras: What's your favorite Robert Ludlum character?
    Theo/Jed: Jason Bourne, of course....Why?
    Boras: Ooops, gotta run. Catch you later...
    Boras: Can I speak to Bruce Levine please?

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    LOL!!!

  • I think theo just called to see what's going on and to tell boras if it gets dry out there to call him.

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    Bourn would be terible and if Cubs didn't contact Upton, why would they go after an older guy?

    Thinking if you were an expansion team (Houston), non -tender day could get a decent start at a rotation: Pelfrey, Parra, Jurrjens, and Karstens who somehow beat the Cubs a lot.

  • I'd be down with this if it doesn't compromise the rebuild. Great player, pretty much exactly what we want in center. Only question is timing.

  • Did you see the quote attributed to Hoyer on MLB trade rumors concerning the Bourne story? Kind of odd, and in contrast to what we have been hearing out of management the past year. Are they feeling pressure to sell some tickets?

  • A 4 or 5 year contract for Bourne would be a huge mistake. I think they should go after Angel Pagan on a 2 or 3 year deal to keep the seat warm for Almora.

  • John, what kind of yrs. and $ would you do this at? 3 and 50? 4 and 64?

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    I'd do two years 32M or so. High AAV and money to flip if you need to.

  • If they sign bourn, I will just say I was right on thinking bj Upton would have been a great signing.

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    In reply to Joshnk24:

    Upton had a lot of warning signs that his production this year was not the real upton and he will continue to decline. Atlanta could afford to absorb that risk because they are so close to contending. For us it just doesn't make sense. Bourn is even more of a risk than upton so if they sign him I will scratch my head in confusion.

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    Not a chance this happens unless you can get him on a two year deal late in the offseason. It's happened to Boras clients before. Never would I get a player like bourn at age 30 a 5/6 yr deal. Hell, I wouldn't even do 4. Prime example of a bad investment. I think any team that signs bourn to his demands will regret it in a few years

  • Tremendous clubhouse guy from what I've read. Eventually you have to stop saying "not a fit this year" and "wait until 2 years from now" and spend some of the Ricketts' money at the Major League level.

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    I agree that we should spend some money now but only on players that present a good investment. The type of player Bourn is + Age + his contract demands = a bad investment. Also timing does matter. Why sign players whos good years will be wasted when this team isn't contending and will be dead weight by the time this core group develops and were ready to go for it? It makes sense to wait.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    If the Cubs are going to spend real money this year it better be Anibal Sanchez and get Morgan for CF , That makes alot more sense than The Bourne Liabilty .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I agree - I'd like to see them focus on pitching, but with 100+ losses last year, they could upgrade all over the field wherever practical.

  • I think that the team needs to spend some money to get the players that will be able to make them as competitive and entertaining as possible for the fans to want to show up and spend money.

    I read a description of the Dodgers taking on all that salary from the Bosox last season as them buying the tv rights to the Adrian Gonzalez show as much as anything else. That might be a small part of the reason for that insane proposal they're getting from Fox, there is a huge Hispanic population in socal. I'm afraid that if the Cubs stink it up for 3 seasons in row we'll be undervalued going into a new tv contract year. I think we need to be entertaining and win more games than last year and build value at the mlb level. According to the rules, we're limited to the amount we can spend on getting new talent into the minors but we're not limited on spending on the big league level. Rickets and Epstein and Hoyer have all said they want to be competitive at Wrigley. I have to hope they will be just that during the next 2 or 3 years, money be damned. Don't forget that besides all that money that came off the books since last year, there will also be minimum 25 million additional coming in from the new MLB tv contract. The cubs can't just play sim city baseball edition for the new few years. They need to start to win asap.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Best way to do that is arms, not a 30 year old slap hitting speed tool CF for 15 mil a year or more with the Sith Lord as an agent .

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    In reply to SFToby:

    The Comcast contract runs through 2019. The sad truth is the Cubs will be way behind in TV revenue for quite a while. (One last "FU" from the Tribune Company to the fans.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I heard somewhere they can opt of out the comcast contract in 2014.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I read it posted by Tom here at cobsden:

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2012/10/cubs-offseason-tidbits-jackson-vitters-mccarthy-tv-deal/

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    In reply to SFToby:

    Here's the Q&A Tom is referring to in his post:

    ***

    Mike (Hoffman Estates)
    When are the cubs getting their own channel, with other teams getting big bucks from tv don't you think its time they jump in? Also any word on the Wrigley renovations?

    Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
    Have not heard anything about major Wrigley renovations, due to the fact that the mayor is still upset about the Ricketts family's involvement in the presidential race. The Cubs' first opportunity to get their own channel will be 2014 when they can opt out of their WGN contract. Their own cable station is a possibility, as well as another big TV corporation coming in and making a bid.

    ***

    It's only the WGN contract in play here. I've seen talk that they might try to buy out the Comcast portion, but that will take a decent chunk of the extra revenue to do.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I have to confess that I moved from Chicago in the early 90s - before that I lived on the road for a couple years so I don't think I've ever seen the Cubs on comcast, I don't even think of them being on anything but wgn. Most of the cable out in the bay area don't carry wgn, so when I see a cubs game it either on a national broadcast or in person at AT&T. Since they are so terrible I'm lucky to see a handful of games a year - fox and mlb tv won't usually carry them.

    Well, I think Zell sold his share of the comcast rights to Ricketts, so I wonder how much more is needed to opt out?

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    In reply to SFToby:

    The MLBtv deal is a pretty good one if you can afford it. You'll be able to watch all but 6 games live. (They'll black out the Cubs-Giants games.) If you like the minor league thing, they offer minor league games for like 20 bucks extra. I didn't do that last summer, but after falling deeply in love with minor league baseball last year, I probably will this summer.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Same here - I did MLB.tv but not MiLB.tv last year, but this year I'm doing both since I'm more familiar with the prospects. I just hope MiLB.tv adds a Roku or a Boxee Box channel. MLB.tv does and it's great, I can just watch it on the tv like usual.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I think they can start winning asap, but why does that necessarily entail expensive free agents. Why not build the way the A's did? If our goal is to be competitive, we don't need to splurge on a mediocre free agent market.

    The other assumption I keep seeing is that even if the Cubs did want to build this way, who's to say any of these FA would come to Chicago anyway?

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    There's an even deeper problem I see with trying to win right away with free agents. I did some figuring today on who is playing where, and when you look at it the bullpen is pretty mediocre. That's going to hurt. And expensive free agents seem to be particularly problematic to fix the bullpen. Remember Bobby Howry and "Stevie" Eyre?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Never spend big on non-closing relievers...that was just a bad idea.

    In the end, I think the Cubs can't buy enough talent to make them a guaranteed winner. They have many holes, can't just fill them all with big name FAs (again, assuming they'll come here to begin with).

    And then I question how much more value are you really getting? If you sign Crisp, then fans will cry cheap, but would have lauded an Upton signing. The difference between them last year? 0.4 WAR per Fangraphs. Similarly Keppinger nearly a 3 WAR player. These guys can play, they're just not expensive household names.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Or really closing relievers too. Unless maybe it's a final piece and a glaring hole. maybe.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Mel Rojas being exhibit (a)

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Next week really should tell us a lot about what this team is going to look like. It is going to take a minor miracle, but I'm not nearly as pessimistic about this season as I was last season. (Last year would have required a parting-of-the-Red-Sea level miracle.)

    Related news: I'm considering going over the Gaylord Opryland hotel and throw my CV at Theo every time he walks through the lobby. I'm sure that's how he's looking to hire new people...

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Surefire way to get his attention :)

    I think the team has a real chance to be better if they can get a couple good players at 3B and OFand shore up the bullpen.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    My biggest concern is Rizzo. Long term, I think he's going to be very good. Multiple-time All Star level good.

    Next year, I'm thinking sophomore slump. He'll learn a ton and grow as a ballplayer -- but the numbers will be ugly. It's hard to see the miracle happening without his bat.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Mike, I don't think Rizzo will disapoint at all,,,listen to the Pat Hughes and Kap interview on Comcast sports Chicago..Hughes raves on Rizzo

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The As and the Cubs are in completely different situations. The A's are lucky to draw flies, we look to draw 3 million plus every year. The As are heard on a system of weak FM stations, the Cubs are on a clear channel from the Rockies to the east cost. The As have been playing this slow build game for seemingly decades, the Cubs just over one year.

    You're right - we could just get cheaper free agents who might not be ready until memorial day or later because they had tj surgery not long ago and hope that they return to where they were a couple years ago or we could get someone who'd been winning the last few years and is healthy now. But I doubt they'll be winning as quickly as possible. I mentioned signing Anibel Sanchez a while back but I was told that was a waste because we'd have to overpay and we don't need him now because we're not ready. Well, if he were here we'd be a lot more ready to win than not. I'd rather build value that way than with some reliever from Japan who may or may not be able to handle the workload of mlb. Bourn is not what is needed here for sure, but its a sign that the front office is thinking of being competitive rather than tanking for the #1 pick in the draft.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    If you look at the overall value these big names contribute compared to some of the value guys we've talked about, it's not that big.

    I mentioned Crisp with a 2.9 WAR vs. Upton's 3.3...is that worth paying an extra 65-70M?

    What about Keppinger? A 3 WAR player, better than Youkilis was last year on offense and defense.

    Annibal Sanchez average WAR last 4 years? 3.2
    Scott Baker's last 4? 3.1
    Even Scott Feldman had a 2.3 WAR last year, just 1.5 wins behind Sanchez's 3.8 last season.

    The Cubs are targeting these guys for a reason. Because their value has a good chance at being similar to the more expensive FAs without having to compromise their payroll 4-5 years down the road.

    You're not gaining as much as you think by signing marquee names.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And not just that...it doesn't matter if the A's don't draw fans. They won. They won a whole lot more games than Miami did signing 3 of the biggest free agents on the market.

    Where the money difference comes into play is being able to retain your core, as well as pick up an extra final piece or two in free agency. That's where teams like the As can't close the deal, but teams like the Cubs can and will.

  • PS even the village idiot knows the Cubs arent built to win in 2013 , 2014 is when Team Theo needs to make a push .

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    Hahahaha not buying this at all.. This is all Scott Boras and his games..

  • I'm starting to think john is coco crisp agent or he has a man crush. Can crisp play 3b at all? The cubs need more guys who don't hit for power or produce runs. Just giving you a hard time john!! I'm just ready for some big moves during next week's gm's meeting.

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    Ha! I wish he was agent. Though I'm not a financial guy, so he probably wouldn't wish the same thing. I think its just great value. Contract is set up perfectly to flip for prospects. Fits need for LH (actually a switch httter) CF, OBP skills, defense, and will fit seamlessly into the clubhouse. Just don't think there's a better fit out there when you take everything into account.

  • John, this is the first time I have strongly disagreed with you. Bourne, a great player?, well, right or wrong, If we would give this guy any amount of years averaging 20 million,I would jump ship.

  • In reply to rakmessiah:

    It's his defense and speed that makes him great. But I can understand the disagreement with that word. Just Win felt the same way. Maybe you guys are right. It does seem to have a different connotation in sports. We can call him a good overall ballplayer and a great defender.

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