Bourn's options dwindling. Are Cubs a legit option?

Bourn's options dwindling. Are Cubs a legit option?

One by one, Bourn's suitors have turned elsewhere...

  • He chose free agency over a qualifying offer from the Braves, looking for a reported 5 year/$100M deal.
  • The Braves then signed BJ Upton to play CF.
  • The Nationals traded for Denard Span
  • The Giants re-signed Angel Pagan
  • The Phillies traded for Ben Revere
  • Josh Hamilton is still out there as potential competition for remaining spots.

Should the Cubs now see if he's amenable to a short term, high AAV deal?


The thing is that because the Braves made Bourn a qualifying offer, he will cost the Cubs a high 2nd round choice.  With the new CBA and compensation system, that is roughly equivalent to what a first round supplemental pick has been in the past few years.

The Cubs would have to be reasonably certain they could get a prospect that is of higher quality than what has traditionally been a 1st round supplemental.  In other words, a pitcher better than, let's say Pierce Johnson.  Or at least a Johnson type prospect plus another player.

That's risky.  What if Bourn regresses or gets hurt?  The Cubs lose that potential to flip him and regain any value.  The Cubs have a bird in the hand now with that draft pick, should they be quick to flip it for two in the bush?

I'm not so sure.

The other argument for signing Bourn is simply to make the Cubs a better team, but honestly, Bourn has been a very good player, worth about 4 wins per Fangraphs over the past few years, but is he a difference maker by himself?  

Even if he manages to sustain that level of performance into his 30s, how much does that help? Moreover, it wouldn't even be 4 wins since he'd be replacing either David DeJesus or a Nate Schierholtz/Dave Sappelt platoon. Either way it should worth around 2 WAR.  In other words, it's likely to be about a 2 win upgrade, 3 at the most.

Are the Cubs 2 or even 4 wins away from being a contender?  Probably not.  It's possible, but it hardly seems worth the risk at this stage.  Perhaps if there is some more movement on the roster, such as a trade of Alfonso Soriano, I may change my mind on this.  Right now, though I know many will disagree, I just don't think it's a wise move for a rebuilding team.

What do you think?

***Can't change poll now, but consider 2nd choice as just "Sign him to a short term deal." (Flipping optional)***

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Tags: michael bourn


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  • If they trade Soriano or DeJesus, maybe. Right now he doesn't fit.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Agreed. I think you consider it if you can open up a spot and get a prospect in return. That mitigates some of the risk of losing trade value with Bourn.

  • Any past GM would do it to let the fans know that we really want
    to win now. But Theo/Jed have more sense. Unless he wants
    to sign a 1 year contract to build up his worth it is not worth it.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Agreed E. Could have seen this happen in the old regime to try and quell fan unrest.

  • Bourn overplayed his hand. He could fit Cubs if the deal is right and they trade Soriano or Dejesus.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Really looks that way right now.

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    I would rather have the high second round draft pick than 3 more wins this year. If we were 3 wins away last year it would be a different story.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    So would I. Agreed on both counts.

  • I feel like you need an option between the first two...more like "Yes, on a short-term deal". Not necessarily signing him just to flip him.

    If he'd be open to a 4 yr, $60-65M deal or a 3 yr, $54M would be an overpay by the Cubs, but he would certainly help out in the meantime and wouldn't end up a long-term anchor.

    I don't think he'd take a deal like that and I'm less sure the Cubs should offer it, but I could live with it. Makes it easier for the Cubs to move Soriano or DeJesus and pushes Shierholtz to 4th OF where he provides a stronger value.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I agree. Another option in the poll is needed. If the front office feels that Bourn is a fit, they should sign him. He would immediately become the best center fielder on the team, and the lead off man. No prospect is ever a sure thing. If one of the Cubs' CF prospects develops, that's a nice problem to have. As for signing Bourn to flip him at the deadline, how about first thing first?

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Probably should have just left it, 'yes, on a short term deal" and let people decide whether they would flip him at the deadline in the comments section. I still wouldn't pay Bourn to give the Cubs a couple extra wins at the cost of a pretty high draft pick, though.

  • There is a new potential team for Bourn that needs a good defensive OF and a leadoff hitter. That team is the Twins. He could end up there if they can work a short-term deal.
    As to the Cubs signing him, I'm against it, but if they do, make it a one-year deal only with no no-trade option of course.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    They aren't going to pay him. Twins are interested in spending extra money. I think only the Rangers and M's are competition for the Cubs.

  • In reply to bwenger:


  • In reply to bwenger:

    Now that they have a little more pitching, the Twins are in a position to do just what the Cubs would likely do: sign Bourn to short-term deal, and flip him in August for prospects and $$$.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    They will also lose a high pick, though. It's still a risk because you hope he retains value and doesn't pull a Juan Pierre.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good points both. Brought the Twins up because they are in a similar situation to the Cubs, with one locked-up star (Mauer/Castro), a health-question-mark slugger (Morneau/Soriano), an up-and-coming group of talent that's probably not ready for 2013, and a need to build the pitching staff. Cubs are now better off in the IF and OF and have a larger payroll budget presumably.
    But the demand for Bourn is broader if he will take a one- or two-year deal with non-contenders, with the likelihood of being flipped. Might be a face-saving tactic for Boras to regroup and fight another day.

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    Given how reluctant teams appear to be to give up a 2nd round pick and cash to sign him now, I'm skeptical of getting good value for him at the deadline.

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    If teams aren't interested in short term deals either, then yeah, I think I'd start getting worried.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But what about the traditional Boras "mystery team?"

    I say it's the Tigers and he"ll get a 6 year $90M deal.

  • I'm all for adding assets. I think Bourne is a great asset, and for the right deal, I would be interested. Honestly, he may not have any other options. A 3 year, 42 million dollar deal might get the job done. Otherwise, I agree with John, let him go somewhere else.

  • Sappelt is raking in the caribbean going .314/.364/.514 right now. Why not give him (and Schierholtz) a chance to earn more pt?

    I'd be okay with signing Bourne if, and only if.... He signs a 1-2yr deal. yes we give up a high 2nd round pick, but we could make a qualifying offer and get a similar pick back in a year or two. More importantly, we could flip him for more than that pick would fetch at the deadline. The risk is minimal, IMO. But we aren't going to garner as much of a return either so I really don't care if they sign him. But definitely not anything over 2 years...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Sappelt can hit. I'm kind of excited that he's found his groove now at the upper levels. Appears to have adjusted nicely.

    As for Bourn, you have to assume he'll still be worth a qualifying offer 2 years from now. Or one year from now for that matter.

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    John, hypothetical here. What if Brett Jackson's swing adjustment works wonders and he becomes a 250 hitter in the bigs. When do you think we would see him get his call up next year? Or do you think it is possible he could make the team out of spring training?

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Has a chance to make the team out of spring but Cubs hedging their bet with Schierholtz signing. My guess is he comes up around the same time Rizzo did last year.

  • John, Normally i'd agree with you tha Bourn doesn't fit the cubs but they are at the point where they seem to be primarily signing playes to flip except with the possible exception of Fujikawa. This team will, as it stands now, be lucky to win 70 games. The strategy to reuild the farm system is good, but they have to at least make an effort to be competitive wuth other major league teams. That's why IMO they should have put more effort into some of the players like Bourn with an offer for three years. If they had done this with two players fans would have felt differenty.

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    In reply to pricewriter:

    They probably do flip Fujikawa too.

    However, we're just not ready to compete or even be near .500 yet, not for a sustained amount of time. Even if we signed Bourn we have little production in RF and no production at 3B. Not much from 2B. Catcher is a mystery on what Castillo will do in the majors. And we're not even talking about LF where Soriano, if he's still here, isn't likely to put up those numbers again. So adding Bourn to 'solve' CF for 1-3 years doesn't really change anything. Not to mention our pitching staff is still mediocre at best.

    I think they are putting out a team that won't suck like Houston but isn't going to win 80 games. They understand we are rebuilding. Anyone that isn't in the long term plans is tradeable and should be traded to get a long term asset if that becomes available.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    Understood if people want to disagree here My response to that is to ask just how much more competitive can a past his peak Michael Bourn make the Cubs?

  • Don't know if anybody else hs posted this yet - but Reed Johnson just re-upped with Atlanta for 1 year + a Club option.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    No, but thanks for posting. Good for him. Looks like Atlanta decided to keep both their Cubs guys. Has a chance to win there late in his career.

  • The more that I think about it, the more I think we should just pass on Bourn. I think he is overpriced, overrated, overhyped, and overaged.

  • The Winter Meeting just make me long for baseball more. I think a good 2year deal and chance to trade him for a good return. All it does is cost money nothing more.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    Same here. So I went back and watched one of the archived games between the Cubs and Astros this time listening for Jim Deshaies. He's growing on me, the lurch looking mofo.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    And a 2nd round pick, don't forget. That pick should be pretty high with far less supplemental first rounders next year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But if they can get a equal value for a Bourne in trade that is further ahead in development.

  • I'd pull the trigger on this but not at 5yr, 100mil. It's not like we have much in the pipeline he'd be blocking. Even if Jackson is ready midseason, which is a big if, Soriano could still be moved this offseason or at the trade deadline. It's all a timing issue and if the FO has 2015 circled, say, you gotta imagine they have free agents targeted for the next couple offseasons. Expecting them all to come up in the 2014 offseason isn't going to happen. Another thing too, I can definitely see us getting a better than Pierce Johnson prospect back, especially if we eat some of Bourn's contract. That may be what some of this budget excess is for and why we're hanging onto it - pay to buy the prospects we want when we flip pieces.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I'm not sure there's anything definite about speculating what we can get back in late July. Could be better than Johnson but a bad year by Bourn coupled with a high salary throws a big monkey wrench in those plans.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Goes without saying nothing's definite. I see it as high probability though, given our ability to eat money and multiple years to try on a multi-year deal.

  • Is it me or am I missing why the Cubs are not going after Michael Young? I read that Philly will send a major league reliever and a low level prospect. The Rangers would also send more than half of the $16m owed to Young next year. Hello...Carlos Marmol? We wouldn't need more than half of Young's salary from the Rangers in return since Marmol makes $9.8m. No money needs to be exchanged. And my guess is the low level prospect wouldn't need to be too great given the year Young had last year (.277, 8, 67 - ok, but not good or great). Throw in Marmol's stuff and how he did the second half of last year and that low level prospect would definitely not be highly touted. Gives the Rangers another solid bullpen guy to cap their bullpen pickups this offseason given how many bullpen guys they lost from last year. The Cubs get a one-year rental at third base who plays solid defense, bats righty (to complement Valbuena's lefty), could still put up some good numbers, slot right in behind Rizzo for protection, great clubhouse guy, plays hard...should I keep going? Hello Theo and Jed...let's make this happen!!!

  • In reply to apalifer:

    I like the idea. The one thing to consider here, though, is that while it may make sense for both teams in 2013, the Cubs goal has been to convert short term assets into long term assets. Now, of course, they almost traded for Dan Haren, but that was partly because he had a chance to have more value at the deadline

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    In reply to apalifer:

    Young has 5 and 10 rights, and report indicated he wouldn't waive it to go to Phillies. Young has to agree to any trade.

    If you were a veteran player, and had never won a World Series, would you want to leave the Rangers for the Cubs right now?

    I wouldn't, and probably neither would Young

    That's probably the answer

  • I'm torn between wanting to shorten the length of the rebuild as much as possible, and wanting add another good player to watch over the next few seasons. I mean, the experience of watching the next 324 games means something to me. That's one thousand hours of baseball we're talking about - I need that to be a little less miserable than last year. I don't require a pennant during the next two seasons, but I do want to have fun watching the Cubs. The experience of watching those games with my Dad and discussing them with my family means a lot to me. A miserable team robs those experiences of a lot of their fun.
    If Bourn, or some other star outfielder, were blocking a star prospect in the next two years then I'd be more hesitant. But in fact, he would fill a huge need on the team - a star leadoff hitter (6.4 WAR last year, according to Fangraphs, which was almost double Castro's WAR) who plays a premium defensive position. I'm willing to give up the second round pick and open Ricketts's checkbook for that.

  • I wouldn't touch Bourn and I'll explain why. Cubs are going nowhere this year and if you look at the 2014 free agents out there, pretty weak at Cubs need positions except for two guys: Jacoby Ellsbury and Choo. No reason to give up the pick that you can use to add another asset for a guy that won't figure in their plans when they're able to compete.

  • $20 million a year... Wow.
    He should be drug tested just for thinking he could get that.

  • What you are suggesting about Michael Bourn somehow underwhelming may be possible, but the Cubs can find ways to limit that. If he is signed to a 2 year deal, then an injury or poor performance in the first year wouldn't hurt much. He would have another season to reclaim his value, then get flipped at the deadline. If Bourn keeps up what he has already been producing, then we can just flip him this year. That way he becomes even more valuable because of the extra year of control other teams will be foaming at the mouth for. If this contract is formed correctly, then I'd be all for it.

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    I just don't think there is much to gain from it. Much more to lose. If everything works out well, you can probably get a better prospect than a supp. 1st round pick, probably two prospects with one being closer to the majors. If you sign him for 2 years and he has a poor year, sure you have another 1/2 season to bounce back, but now he's older and the team doesn't get compensated. It seems like such a circuitous route to get a marginally better return, but with greater risk along the way. Just doesn't seem like all that great a gamble to me.

    The Cubs have a lot of money to spend and could get a premium prospect in the 2nd round this year depending on how the rest of the first 10 rounds go. It's a valuable asset and to give that up for a couple extra wins next year and the hope you get a bigger return...just not enough upside in that move to entice me.

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    5 years from now when I am sitting down the right field line asking Soler for his warm up ball (in impeccable Cuban, of course) during game 7 of the world series, I won't be thinking about Michael Bourn at all. Sign him, don't sign him, it doesn't matter in the big picture. One less second round draft pick won't collapse a team either.

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    If you look at the history of the 43rd draft pick (where Pierce "Ouch" Johnson was taken), you'd think Bourn is the better bet. Then you look at some of the guys Epstein grabbed with supplemental picks: Daniel Bard, Clay Buchholz, and Jed Lowrie, and suddenly it looks a lot riskier to give up that pick.

    One of the things often lost in the debate over whether or not rebuilding through the draft is a good idea: Theo is very good at drafting talent.

  • If it weren't for losing that second round pick I'd say sign him to a short contract, maybe three years, which he probably wouldn't accept anyway. The thing that bothers me the most is there doesn't seem to be any effort to find a piece or two as a bridge to 2014 or beyond - it seems to be 'Who can we get that's cheap and flippable?" It almost seems like a minor league team now, not a major league team that is making an effort to be somewhat competitive

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