When I moved to Houston in 2010, I fell deeply in love with a very terrible Houston Astros team. It was just me and the ballpark, together every night in the front row for $5. Before Jeff Luhnow took over in late 2011 and started his own fire sale that, let’s put it succinctly, has worked absolute wonders, former General Manager Ed Wade traded away his last assets, one of which included speedy All-Star center fielder Michael Bourn.
Bourn was traded to Atlanta (in a deal I thought the Astros whiffed on) and had his second All-Star season in 2012 in which he stole 42 bases and earned a four-year/$48 million dollar contract with the Cleveland Indians.
Then came a speed demon’s worst nightmare: a groin injury. Suffered before 2014, Bourn’s second season in Cleveland saw him appear in just 106 games and steal just 10 bases.
The wheels came off, literally and figuratively, in 2015 and Bourn was traded in a completely salary-motivated deal in August. Surely enough, he returned back to the Braves. In full rebuild mode and not interested in paying Bourn’s $14 million dollar salary, Atlanta released Bourn on April 2nd.
The Scott Boras client was looking around for another chance, and with Chris Colabello‘s 80-game PED suspension, the Toronto Blue Jays came calling. Toronto has some internal options at outfield, but as a contender with a built-to-win-now roster, they’re turning to the veteran Bourn to try and find gold on the free agent market.
If Bourn is unable to recapture some of his previous game, those internal options are highly regarded prospect Dalton Pompey, who hasn’t been given much of a shot by the Jays for some reason, as well as some other names Minor League fans might recognize.
Junior Lake, the former Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles outfielder along with Dominic Brown, the former blue chip prospect of the Philadelphia Phillies, both sit in Triple-A with the Buffalo Bisons.
If it’s going to be Michael Bourn, he’ll have to regain at least his good sense of contact at the plate, because his days of running rampant on the base paths seem to be over. Bourn hit .238 with no home runs, 30 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 141 games last season — 95 in Cleveland and 46 in Atlanta. If anything, he showed improved health playing in the most games since 2012.
Michael Bourn may not ever come up, but he’s not clogging up a roster with a $14 million dollar salary anymore. It’s a Minor League deal now which suits the role he would take on a Major League ball club.
My Astros blood is hoping he gets another shot…we’ll find out sooner rather than later.