The LA Angels have made their first signing of the offseason, and it brings great joy to many Halo fans, as they signed fan favorite Peter Bourjos on Friday afternoon.
Now, this contract is not just sentimental for the LA Angels. Sure, Bourjos was the original running mate for Trout in the outfield back in 2012. And while it will be nice to see him back with the Halos, this is more than just a feel-good move.
It is also an incredibly smart one.
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Now, Bourjos isn’t the same player he was back when he was playing center field at the Big A. The Angels opting to sign him to a minor league contract proves that point. However, Bourjos did earn an invite to Spring Training, which may be the only opportunity he needs to succeed.
Bourjos was brought in to compete for the fourth outfielder spot in 2019. Last season, a collection of Jabari Blash, Michael Hermosillo, Chris Young, and Eric Young Jr. filled that role. But when you look at the real contenders in the MLB last season, most of them had a solid fourth outfielder who could play solid defense and put up respectable offensive numbers.
While it is true Bourjos only hit .205 last season, that was way below his career-average and he is a strong candidate for a bounceback season. It was also an incredibly small sample size of only 47 at-bats. It is true Bourjos’ career average of .240 does not scream stud, but for what the Angels might have in store for him, he fits the bill.
Bourjos plays great defense. That is just a plain fact. He is one of the rangiest fielders in the game, and will be a commendable option as a late-inning defensive sub for Justin Upton, who looks lost in left field at times.
Bourjos could also be counted on to platoon right field with Kole Calhoun, who was absolutely awful against left-handed pitching last season. His second-half spark will keep him in the lineup, but platooning Calhoun with Bourjos, a career .247 hitters against right-handed pitching, gives an offensive boost without subtracting too much defensive value.
Overall, for such a cheap price Bourjos was an excellent signing for the Angels. His elite speed and defense make him worth the signing, and if his bat can wake up in 2019, he can be one of the most valuable signings all winter.