Since last season the Los Angeles Angels have dangled OF, Peter Bourjos, in front of teams that needed an outfielder. It’s no secret that the Washington Nationals have had interest in the outfielder. Just last season they tried to acquire him, but to no avail. Their name came up again today in a rumor that would have sent Bourjos to them. The Angels need bullpen help, but trading Bourjos to get that help would be a huge mistake.
In 2011 Peter Bourjos completed his first full season in the majors, and overall was very impressive. During his time in the minors he showed impressive speed, and in 2011 he gave a glimpse that speed. He struggled with his plate discipline, walking only 5% of the time, and striking out over 22% of the time, but he still was able to contribute on offense. In the minors he did show some signs of power, and last season he managed to post a .167 ISO, right around where he was in the minor leagues. Overall his slash line looked like this: .271/.327/.438 (111 wRC+). Last year the league average slash line looked like this: .255/.321/.399 (96 wRC+), so Bourjos was well above average offensively.
He did have the help of a .338 BABIP, but during his time in the minor leagues he always had a high BABIP, so this could be something that’s always higher than league average. Besides his offensive production he also proved to be a notable defender, posting a 7.5 UZR. Keep in mind though that one season is a relatively small sample size though. In the end that all added up to a 4.3 WAR.
Bourjos is off to a slow start this season, but for the most part it seems like it’s BABIP driven. Right now he has a BABIP of .243, compared to his .338 BABIP from a season-ago. As the season goes on, and as long as he gets playing time that should eventually correct itself. ZiPs projects Bourjos to finish the season with a slash line of .256/.305/.405 and a .149 ISO, and 3 WAR. Right now Bourjos only has .1 WAR, but a 3.1 WAR player is definitely someone that you want on your team. If you go back to 2010 when he played 51 games he still produced 1.8 WAR. His offense struggled a lot, but his defensive value made him such a valuable player.
Bourjos may not be an extremely flashy player, and he gets the job done. The Yankees have a player nearly identical to Bourjos in Brett Gardner, and they seem satisfied with playing him everyday, and like Gardner, Bourjos is extremely cheap.
Another thing to point out is that the Angels need help with their outfield, trading Bourjos shouldn’t be something that they’re thinking about. They currently have 2.1 WAR from their OF, and are in the upper half, but that doesn’t mean they will stay there. Marc Trumbo has played a few games in the outfield, but hasn’t been very good at all. Vernon Wells has also been a bust, and probably shouldn’t even be playing as much as he is.
If the Angels were to make a trade with the Nationals it is highly unlikely that they would even get fair compensation from them. There is no reliever out there who would replace the value that Bourjos can give this team. John Lannan‘s name was thrown around last season, but even if it was him and a reliever the Angels would still get a raw deal.
In the end, if the Angels want any hopes of making the playoffs they need to keep the players that can help them achieve that goal. Peter Bourjos is one of them, and if they trade him for a reliever or two, then that would be a big mistake.