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Arizona Diamondbacks sign Michael Bourn

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The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to terms on a Minor League contract with OF Michael Bourn and assigned him to Double-A Mobile, as announced by D-backs Sr. Vice President & General Manager Dave Stewart.

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Bourn, 33, is a 2-time NL All-Star (2010, '12) and Rawlings® Gold Glove winner in center field (2009-10). Since 2008, he is tied for the Major League lead with 307 stolen bases, ranks second with 238 infield hits and is third with 70 bunt hits. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder owns a lifetime .266 batting average with 178 doubles, 63 triples, 31 home runs, 323 RBI and 326 stolen bases in 1,248 games over parts of 10 Major League seasons with the Phillies (2006-07), Astros (2008-11), Braves (2011-12, '15) and Indians (2013-15). The Houston native was designated for assignment by the Braves on April 2, signed a Minor League contract with the Blue Jays on April 22 and was released May 7. In 9 games with Single-A Advanced Dunedin, Bourn hit .257 (9-for-35) with 2 doubles, 1 triple and 4 RBI.

On the one hand, we could have an All-Star in center-field! On the other hand...the fact Bourn has been released by two major league franchises already this season isn't encouraging - especially when one of them is roughly on pace for the worst season since the Cleveland Spiders. From 2013-2015, since that last All-Star appearance, Bourn has an OPS+ of 82, with a line of .253/.313/.336 and a .650 OPS in 1,544 PA. That would actually be an offensive downgrade for the D-backs, whom I was surprised to learn, have got a .707 OPS out of the position, 8th in the National League (it's below the mean, but that's skewed badly by Dexter Fowler's 1.038 OPS with the Cubs).

On the other hand, Bourn would likely be a defensive upgrade for the team. While Chris Owings and friends have shown surface competence, the metrics haven't been impressed, and there have been a number of times where "Good effort!", muttered through clenched teeth, has been about the kindest reaction possible. So you can understand the point of the signing after last night, where our outfield consisted of two converted infielders and a guy who had been signed as a backup catcher. Let's hope David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas aren't out for too much longer, and Bourn can remain in the minors as unnecessary depth.