The Cubs made a move Thursday, signing former Cardinals and Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos to a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. If the outfielder makes the big-league squad, he’ll earn a base salary of $1.45 million.
— Steve Adams (@Adams_Steve) February 1, 2018
I typed “Peter Bourjos” into Google and just below the new Cubs signee’s FanGraphs page was Jon Jay’s. What an omen.
The 30-year-old Bourjos was a former 4.2 fWAR player for the Angels way back in 2011. He was able to have success because of his well-above-average speed, which, throughout his career, has driven a 16.1 UZR/150 in center field.
He was a big part of the David Freese trade in the 2013-2014 offseason, but he never blossomed as a Cardinal, and hip surgery halted a once promising career prior to the 2014 season. Unexpectedly for The Best Fans in Baseball, Bourjos only produced 1.3 WAR in 519 plate appearances during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Bourjos still got another shot despite poor years in St. Louis, though. He caught on with the Phillies in 2016, but only generated 0.3 WAR in 338 PA. The Rays then picked him up for the 2017 season, but he only picked up 203 plate appearances and 0.1 fWAR.
Lackluster offensive production and poor health have haunted Bourjos for most of his big-league career. His total .297 wOBA and 76 wRC+, for example, is basically Jason Heyward’s most frustrating season stat line.
But Bourjos gives the Cubs added depth in case Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, Ben Zobrist, Albert Almora Jr., or Ian Happ goes down due to [knock on wood] an injury.