Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Signing Michael Bourn to a short-term contract is an interesting proposition for the Tigers. On one hand, Bourn would upgrade the team's speed and outfield defense by being slotted in left field. Whether or not he'd be an upgrade offensively over Andy Dirks remains to be seen, and would largely be dependent on if Dirks is able to repeat his 2012 season, or if he falls back to the more pedestrian levels expected of him when he came up. But the Tigers already have a player that can give them great speed when they need it in Quintin Berry, and it should be expected that Dirks could replicate Bourn's career .272/.339/.365 line. It's an interesting discussion given the lack of demand currently out there for Bourn; but the Tigers can mostly replicate what they would get from him with internal options. In addition, the outfield is arguably the lone position of strength right now in the farm system, and adding a player that would just block the progression of guys like Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia wouldn't seem to be in the Tigers best interest. Finally, for any term length, the team would need to forfeit a first round draft pick, and given the state of the farm after having forfeited their top pick the past couple drafts, that's certainly not advisable unless absolutely necessary. It's an interesting idea, but the costs far outweigh the benefits in this case.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I don't think the Tigers should do it in the literal sense of the word, but I can sure an appealing argument for Bourn's acquisition on a short-term deal. The Tigers are already projected to be a very, very good baseball team in 2013 and the addition of any other significant pieces to the lineup would just be gravy at this point. That said, with a bench that looks to be incapable of even occasional contributions, the ability to push Andy Dirks to the pine and run an outfield of Bourn, Austin Jackson and Torrii Hunter out there everyday is incredibly enticing. The defensive ability of that outfield alone is absolutely drool inducing. Bourn sitting atop the Tigers lineup, with either Jackson or Hunter in the two-hole suddenly lengthens the lineup, giving opposing pitchers even more trouble. The move would make a championship caliber team even more threatening. On the flip side, the Tigers would have to give up their first round pick to get the deal done and that has the potential to already hamper a depleted farm system, but they have shown little concern for such matters in recent years. Do the Tigers need to sign Michael Bourn? No. Should the Tigers sign Michael Bourn? Probably not. Would it be a whole lot of fun to watch if they did? Yes!
Jason Klatt, Staff Writer
Even on a short term deal I don’t think the Tigers should make a run at signing Michael Bourn. Bourn’s best value is as a leadoff hitter who can play premium defense in centerfield and the Tigers already have a guy in Austin Jackson who excels at both of those things. Also, the money that would be used to sign Bourn would be better spent other ways such as help in the back end of the bullpen or towards arbitration/long term contracts for current players. Having extra payroll flexibility would be a big positive as the Tigers begin to discuss a long term extension for Justin Verlander.
James Chipman, Lakeland Correspondent
Signing Michael Bourn would obviously improve the Tigers chances to win a World Series. However, it's probably in their best interest to steer clear of Bourn even if time runs out and he desperately seeks a one-year deal. Forfeiting a first round draft pick--something the Tigers haven't had since 2009--and losing the slot money assigned wouldn't be worth one season of Bourn.
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