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A post Bourn of desperation

It was better than my first headline: "UZR Bournography."

Scott Cunningham

I've seen six movies in the last four years or so (sponsored link), so it's rare that I can stay hep and current with the movie references. But there's a movie that came out a couple years ago that's relevant to this discussion. It's called "Lord of the Rings," and it …

… wait, 10 years ago? Good god …

Well, whatever. In it, there's this fascinating little creature named "Goolom", and there's a scene where he argues with himself. Oh, wait, here it is.

Huh. I don't remember the lips being so out of sync, but that's decade-old technology for you.

Anywho, the point is that I do one of these arguments with myself about 39 times an offseason.

Stupid Grant: Write a post about (free agent).

Less Stupid Grant: No. That's stupid.

Stupid Grant: C'mon. What else are you going to write about? Do it.

Less Stupid Grant: No. Seriously, it's really stupid. I'll lose the respect of my readers.

Readers: lol

And I resisted on this one for a long, long time. Really, oh, man, how I resisted. Michael Bourn wanted a ton of money -- Scott Boras said nine figures at one point! -- and there was no way the Giants were going to double what they were willing to pay Angel Pagan. If Bourn were a 30-homer player, I could almost see the Giants making a nine-figure splash.

Something happened with the Bourn market, though. The Bourn market didn't have much of an identity at first, but after Boras tried too hard to demonstrate his supremacy over those silly, free-spending owners, the free market issued something of an ultimatum, which means Bourn might get a deal small enough to affect Boras's legacy negatively.

If the Giants were to sign Bourn, why, you could get those kinds of jokes every day. So you know where your interests lie.

Of course, the Giants aren't signing Bourn. No way, no how. Nick Swisher was a corner outfielder with power. Nick Swisher openly discussed wanting to be on the Giants. If the Giants could create a player in a lab to help their team, they could do worse than a switch-hitting corner outfielder with power. The Giants did not want to pay Nick Swisher $56 million.

So, no, the Giants aren't signing Michael Bourn.

This, then, is a simple question: How cheap will Michael Bourn have to come before you openly mock the Giants for not signing him? Or what kind of contract would make you kick your ottoman across the room and scream, "BLASTED RAINY DAY FUND"?

I'll guess he signs for five years, $80 million. At that price, I'm not sold. He's 30, after all, and I'd be terrified that his speed and/or defense would shrivel up by the end of the deal, if not the middle. And without defense, Bourn is Juan Pierre. The Giants just got out of a five-year deal for a mostly worthless player. Another one would scare me.

Four years? Getting warmer, but it would still feel like a big contract for a player who isn't that much different from Gregor Blanco. Same career OPS+, really. Similar stolen-base/caught-stealing ratio. Bourn was supposedly worth three more wins last year because of defense and playing time, but is the difference between Bourn and Blanco defensively worth a four-year commitment to a player over 30? Nah.

The deal would have to be three years. At three years, I would grumble about the missed chance of Blanco/Bourn/Pagan UZR porn against tough right-handers. Just Pagan and Bourn in the same outfield on a regular basis would be amazing. Bourn and Pagan atop the lineup, annoying pitchers and catchers alike.

Put it this way: I wouldn't be surprised if either Pagan or Bourn were worth $80 million over the next three years. Having both would double the chances of getting that kind of value. I think. I'm not a big game-theory guy. I don't even know if that's even game theory.

In the end, it's still Scott Boras. And once a team thinks they're close to three years, another team will come back with four. And when that team's comfortable with four, Boras will get five. So there's no chance that Bourn will get within the Giants' price range, and it's unlikely that he'll get close to the range you think the Giants should have. But it's fun to dream, you know.

Close your eyes for a second, and picture Michael Bourn leading off. Wreaking havoc. Gliding around the spacious Mays Field outfield, at least for next year. Ahhhhhh. Now get back to work.