Friday, December 7, 2012

Michael Bourn still in the mix for Reds?

While many believe the price tag attached to signing free agent OF Michael Bourn is beyond reach for the Reds, at least one baseball writer thinks they could still be in the mix to acquire the prized leadoff man.

In this blurb, ESPN's Jason A. Churchill suggests that the best bets to land Bourn are the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and the Reds. The Mariners and Rangers are currently in a bidding war to sign free agent slugger Josh Hamilton, which may leave Cincinnati as the best possible place for Bourn to land at this point, argues Churchill.

As much as I would love to see this happen, I don't see it coming to fruition, especially if Ryan Ludwick agrees to the 2-year deal the club is offering him. Cincy just recently committed a good chunk of money to Jonathan Broxton after inking him to a 3-year deal that will pay him $21 million over that span. The Reds already have $73.2 million of payroll committed to 2013, including a $2.5 million buyout of Ryan Madson. This doesn't include money that they will have to fork out to arbitration-eligible players such as Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake, which is likely to push the overall payroll to the max of around $90 million.

Signing Ludwick would leave the Reds virtually no extra wiggle room in payroll to acquire a guy as pricey as Bourn. Further complicating matters is the fact that Bourn's agent is none other than the infamous Scott Boras, who has a reputation for getting his clients paid well beyond market value.

However, if the opportunity presented itself, would GM Walt Jocketty be willing and able to negotiate a 1-year deal with Bourn? With the way the current market is going, it may be in the best interest for Boras and his client to take a 1-year deal somewhere and then test the free agent market again in 2013. It really just depends if some team steps up with a multi-year offer or not in the near future.

Bourn, 29, earned $6.8 million in 2012 as a member of the Atlanta Braves. He sported a slash line of .274/.348/.391 in 155 games played. The 2-time All-Star ranked second in the National League in stolen bases (42) and defensive WAR (3.0).

In his 7-year big league career, Bourn owns a .272 batting average and a .339 on-base percentage. He is widely considered one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball as evidenced by his two Gold Glove Awards.

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