The Phillies have a big mystery with bench bat Justin Bour
When the Phillies acquired Justin Bour during the August waiver trade period it raised several eyebrows across the Delaware Valley. For a team that values versatility, adding a first baseman who looks like an NFL linebacker didn’t feel like a fit.
With Carlos Santana entrenched at first base Bour became a bat off the bench that did very little in 29 games thanks to an oblique strain. Bour hit just .229 with four extra-base hits and became a forgotten man late in the season.
Philadelphia still has Bour under team control for two seasons after trading pitching prospect McKenzie Milton to Miami. After making $3.4 million in 2018, Bour will likely receive a one-year deal in the $4.5 million range, a hefty price for a bench bat.
Bour is currently Philadelphia’s third option at first base behind Santana and Rhys Hoskins. Much has been made about the future of Santana despite his significant contract, but if the Phillies move Santana they’ll likely move Hoskins back to first and add an outfield bat.
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After a down season, Philadelphia likely can’t get anything significant for Bour on the trade market, though his controllability is valuable. He’s a perennial 20-home run, .260 average bat, but the power is certainly something an American League team could covet.
Philadelphia could keep Bour if the trade return simply isn’t enough and he could be a bench bat who gets a start once or twice a week behind Santana/Hoskins.
Ultimately, it’s hard to find a long-term place for Bour in Philadelphia barring a significant trade this winter. At the time this trade made tremendous sense for Philadelphia, but right now there’s not enough playing time for Bour’s pending contract to make sense, even for the Phillies’ deep pockets.