The Angels’ outfield is suddenly crowded as they signed center fielder Josh Hamilton from the Texas Rangers yesterday. The Angels are likely to trade one of their current out fielders, and players such as Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo have been listed in recent trade talk. Since the Rays need to replace center fielder B.J. Upton, who signed a five-year deal with the Atlanta Braves recently, should the Rays target Peter Bourjos?
Bourjos would provide excellent defensive skills, which the Rays are known for, but his batting skills may not be enough to entice the Rays. In 2012, Bourjos hit just .220 with 37 hits and 19 RBIs in 101 games. But, his numbers were higher in 2011, when he had more plate appearances and appeared in 147 games, and hit .271 with 136 hits and 43 RBIs. Bourjos also had 22 stolen bases in 2011, versus only 3 stolen bases in 2012.
The twenty-five year old center fielder’s numbers in 2011 are comparable to Rays left fielder Desmond Jennings’ in 2012, who hit .246 with 124 hits and 47 RBIs. Jennings is known for his speed on the base paths, as he recorded 46 stolen bases in 2012. If the Rays do not sign a center fielder during this offseason, Jennings will most likely move to center field with either Sam Fuld playing left field or Matt Joyce moving from right field to left field. If the Rays have to move Joyce to left field, Ben Zobrist would play right field.
The Angels could trade Bourjos to the Rays in exchange for a pitcher, as the Angels are still in need of pitchers after trading Ervin Santana to the Kansas City Royals and free agent Zack Greinke just signed with the Dodgers. But with the Rays trading pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals earlier this week, the Rays probably will hold on to the rest of their pitching staff. Other supposed trade deals surrounding Bourjos include the Miami Marlins trading minor league prospects for Bourjos. The Rays are known for stocking their farm teams to cultivate talent for the future, so that trade scenario is unlikely.
While the Rays could use a center fielder, Bourjos’ offensive skills might be too much of a gamble. Without a doubt, the Rays need more power in their lineup, as pitching and defense is how they win most games. However, the Rays cannot afford to buy some of the best hitters on the market, but Bourjos would be an affordable solution to their gap in center field. Bourjos is young and his numbers show promise that his offensive skills can improve. The question is whether or not the Rays want to take the chance and find out.