What if the Detroit Tigers could add some speed, defense, and a pretty decent hitter to the lineup? What if I told you there is one player that is hitting the free-agent market that provides all three things?
Outfielder Michael Bourn is that man, and he finds himself on the free-agent market for the first time in his career. The free-agent center fielder has played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, and Atlanta Braves in his seven years in the big leagues.
He would look oh-so-good in a Tigers’ uniform.
If I were to ask you what was one thing the Tiger lacked I can almost guarantee the first thing most Tigers fans would say is defense. Bourn is no stranger to winning Gold Gloves. He already has two on his resume in his first seven years in the major leagues.
This year Bourn had another outstanding year with the glove. Only making two errors and posting a 22.4 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating). With Austin Jackson, Bourn, and possibly Avisail Garcia roaming the outfield of Comerica Park, it would make for one of the best defensive outfield’s in baseball.
Double plays. It makes me cringe every time I read, type, hear, or see that the word. It was something that the Tigers did a lot this past year. Ending rally after rally with the twin killings. However, Bourn is one of the fastest players in the MLB. Putting Bourn in the two- hole behind Jackson would put back-to- back incredibly fast players on the base paths ahead of Miguel Cabrera.
Bourn lead the National League in stolen bases from 2009 to 2011, and stole 42 bags last year. No one on the Tigers has stolen that many bases since Alex Sanchez in 2003 (44 total). It would add an element of speed to a slow lineup, and give you one of the best base stealers in baseball.
Now I cannot make Bourn out to be the perfect player. He strikes out a lot for a top of the order guy, and is only a career .272 hitter, with a career on- base percentage of .339. He’s average with the bat.
But it’s all the positives he could bring to the Tigers’ lineup: more speed, legit base stealing threat, packaged into a Gold Glove defender. I can deal with the strike outs when you can do so many other things.
Bourn would probably be in the realm of a $8 to $11 million dollar/ year player. If the Tigers could lock the speedy Bourn up for three years at around $35 million dollars, that would be a great deal and signing for the Tigers.