Tampa Bay Rays: Set to Acquire Outfielder Peter Bourjos from White Sox for Cash
By Althea Pashman
The search for a right-handed bat is coming to an end for the Tampa Bay Rays as they are nearing completion of a deal to acquire outfielder Peter Bourjos.
In a late Monday night deal, the Tampa Bay Rays have acquired right-handed hitting outfielder Peter Bourjos from the Chicago White Sox for cash considerations. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times via Tweeter first reported that a trade was in the works with Don Hayes of CSN Chicago via Twitter confirming that it is a done deal.
There has been no confirmation from the Rays of the deal, but reports indicate that it should be done sometime on Tuesday.
It was early Monday when George A. King III of the New York Post reported that the Rays were interested in INF/OF Rob Refsnyder of the New York Yankees, however centerfield is not one of the positions that he plays.
Bourjos was signed this past January to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training by the Chicago White Sox looking for a job as a reserve outfielder. The chances of Bourjos making the White Sox opening roster increased significantly when a centerfielder Charlie Tilson sustained a foot injury and would be out another month.
The trade comes on the heels of Bourjos having an outstanding spring for the Sox, batting .313/.340/.521 (15-for-48) in 19 spring games. By no means is he an offensive threat in the lineup as he owns a career slash line of .243/.300/.382, it is however his defense and speed that will make him a valuable asset for the Rays.
Tampa Bay’s 40-man roster is filled and no matter which way you look at the roster picture the Rays will need to make a bevy of moves, as there is the potential of four non-roster invitees making the club.
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This is contingent if the team intends to keep Tommy Hunter and Rickie Weeks Jr., which according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays must tell them whether or not they have made the team or if they are being released. Additionally, another non-roster invitee catcher Jesus Sucre would also need to be added.
On a side note, Topkin via Twitter reports that manager Kevin Cash has told Hunter and Weeks Jr. that they have both made the Opening Day 25-man roster.
Last season with the Phillies, Bourjos had a slash line of .251/.292/.389 in 123 games, with 20 doubles, 7 triples and 23 RBIs in 355 at-bats. Having played the majority of his career in center, Bourjos spent most of the season in rightfield (115 games, 92 starts) with one error for a .995 fielding percentage.
Drafted in 2005 by the Los Angeles Angels, Bourjos made his MLB debut in 2010 with the Angels and would have an outstanding first full-year in 2011 with a slash line of .271/.327/.438. He set career highs in runs (72), hits (136), doubles (26), home runs (12), RBIs (43), stolen bases (22) and triples (11) which was tops in the American League.
Following the 2013 season, the Angels would trade Bourjos along with Randal Grichuk to the St. Louis Cardinals for David Freese and Fernando Salas. Following the 2015 season, St. Louis waived him and Philadelphia claimed him in December 2015.
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With Colby Rasmus headed to the disabled list to open the season, Bourjos will slot right in as a backup for Kevin Kiermaier and as well add additional depth as a much needed right-handed bat.