The Phillies made an August trade out of nowhere Friday afternoon, acquiring first baseman Justin Bour and cash from the Marlins.
Just when you thought Friday was going to be quiet, the Phillies decided to make a splash in the waiver trade deadline period. Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reports that the team is acquiring first baseman Justin Bour and cash from the Marlins for a minor-league pitcher. Rosenthal said the Phils claimed Bour on trade waivers, working out a deal from there. Other reporters have since confirmed the trade.
This is not the first trade the Phils have made in the division this year. They picked up Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets before the trade deadline. Sending a prospect to another NL East team clearly isn’t an issue for the front office.
Bour’s biggest asset is his power. While he has an abysmal .227 batting average, he has 19 home runs, 10 doubles, and a triple in 112 games this year. One in five of the fly balls Bour has hit this year have gone for home runs. Bour has a strong walk rate for a power hitter at 15.4 percent while posting a 24.8 percent strikeout rate.
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In his five-year career with the Marlins, Bour has a .262/.346/.470 line with a 124 OPS+. He has 83 home runs, 272 runs batted in, and 182 runs scored in 478 games. His best season came last year when he had a .902 OPS and was worth 2.3 wins above replacement.
The acquisition of Bour is more than just a rental. The 30-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season, becoming a free agent after the 2020 season. This is how long Carlos Santana’s contract lasts, likely leaving Bour as Santana’s backup for the coming years.
For now, people are already calling this deal the 2018 version of the Matt Stairs acquisition.
Bour easily becomes the team’s most dangerous bat off the bench with the constant threat of a home run. That is something Philadelphia has lacked this season since Nick Williams become a starter and is surely a welcome addition.
Bour is defensively limited, playing only at first base his entire career. His main role should be as a pinch-hitter, but don’t be surprised if he winds up getting stuck in the outfield as defense isn’t a concern for this team.
There was no build-up to this trade, but Bour is a huge bench boost. He is another dangerous bat that can hit a home run at any time, and offense is this team’s biggest need.