Phillies Claim Peter Bourjos Off Waivers

It may not be the flashiest signing of the offseason, but it is one that could have potentially significant benefits.

Jenifer Langosch, the St. Louis Cardinals beat writer for MLB.com, broke the news earlier this afternoon that the Philadelphia Phillies claimed outfielder Peter Bourjos off of waivers from the Cardinals. The 28-year-old former Cardinal was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in the winter of 2013. He, along with Randal Grichuk, were sent to St. Louis in a deal that saw 2011 World Series hero David Freese head to the Angels along with pitcher Fernando Salas.

Thought of as an excellent defensive outfielder, Borujos also possesses great speed. However, he can be considered “offensively challenged.” In his six-year career, Bourjos has surpassed 10 home runs in a season just once. Additionally, he’s only tallied two seasons with more than 20 RBIs, and an average higher than .231.

Bourjos, for the most part, has struggled in his time in the majors. Usually sporting an abysmal on-base percentage below .300, he had a few seasons where he showed some promise. Arguably his best major league season was in 2011 with the Angels. In that season, Bourjos hit .271, with 12 home runs and 43 RBIs.  Additionally, he stole 22 bases while tallying a .327 OBP. Since then, however, his overall stats have been on a significant decline. He has failed to surpass 300 at-bats in each of the past four seasons.

The former Angel figures to serve as the Phillies fourth outfielder. Despite the uncertainty in the outfield, the fact that he can only play center field truly hinders his ability at playing time, as the position is already filled by the surprise Rule 5 pick Odubel Herrera. In addition to Herrera and Bourjos, the only other outfielder on the Philadelphia roster is Aaron Altherr. Even with the addition of Bourjos, the Phillies are expected to pursue another outfielder in free-agency.

With the Winter Meetings scheduled to begin in Nashville on Sunday, it will be interesting to track the Phillies’ moves under new general manager Matt Klentak. The team has been linked to Jason Heyward as a possible “dark-horse,” and Jeff Francoeur is considered a candidate to return. In addition to outfielders, the Phillies have a glut of other needs, including starting pitching. With a number of moves already this winter, Klentak has shown a desire to give players a second chance. How that philosophy factors into the team’s free-agency plans remains to be seen.

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