Is Michael Bourn reacting to the Nats’ trading for Denard Span? Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
That drumming you hear is not the drum corps from the local marching band preparing for their next super-cool band competition (confessions of a band geek… I was one). It is not a tribe of late 19th century Apaches trying to freak out a band of westward-traveling pale-faces.
No, that drumbeat you hear is the call of Michael Bourn being led to the Phillies, thanks to the Nationals’ acquisition of Minnesota’s lead-off hitter and center fielder Denard Span.
The Nats were seen as a likely landing spot for the former Phillie and Brave, who were desperate for a lead-off hitter and center fielder to play between Jayson Werth and Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper. Instead, they acquired Span, leaving one less suitor from which Bourn and his superagent Scott Boras can pry more cash.
Not only that, it appears a second suitor other than the Nationals also has no interest in signing Bourn.
So with the Reds apparently out, suddenly the Phils are one of the only teams with deep pockets who still have a gaping hole in center field. And while this seems to be unsettling to some fans, the reality is that Ruben Amaro’s patience thus far has put the Phils in an excellent bargaining position.
The Phillies really are sitting pretty. They have four potential center field free agent possibilities in Bourn, Josh Hamilton, Angel Pagan and Shane Victorino. And by slow-playing this process so far, Amaro has put the Phils in position to pick and choose the player they want and sign them at a reasonable price.
In fact, Amaro already did the right thing by pursuing B.J. Upton at his own price, refusing to overpay this time around.
The truth is, if Amaro can sign any of the remaining free agents to a three-year deal, all of them would be a fit. And along with Bourn, many national pundits and guessperts (see what I did there?) are suggesting Amaro would like to make a big splash and could sign Hamilton in an attempt to one-up the Braves and Nationals.
While I’m sure Amaro would love nothing more than to upstage his inter-division rivals with a big signing, Ruben sure seems to be taking a calm, measured approach to filling the team’s needs thus far.
I know, it feels weird, doesn’t it?
What is certain is that Michael Bourn and his team of money people are circling the wagons, likely realizing their payday isn’t going to be quite the windfall they once expected.
Let’s all silently weep for Scott Boras, if only for a moment.