SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette is on a roster roll.
Bourn appeared in 24 games with the Orioles last season and batted .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 46 at-bats. They acquired him from the Diamondbacks on Aug. 31 for minor league outfielder Jason Heinrich.
“Michael Bourn’s all-around play helped the club earn a 2016 playoff spot and we’re glad to have him back for ‘17,” Duquette wrote in a text message.
The Orioles now have 55 players in camp. They don’t need to create a spot for Bourn on the 40-man roster because he signed a minor league deal.
Duquette and manager Buck Showalter wanted to upgrade the outfield defense - center fielder Adam Jones offered his own endorsement at FanFest - and they’ve taken two steps in spring training by signing Craig Gentry on Saturday and Bourn today. They also completed a trade yesterday for pitcher Vidal Nuño as part of the frenzy.
As Duquette often states, building the roster is a year-round job.
Bourn, 34, gives the Orioles another left-handed hitting outfielder to go with Hyun Soo Kim, Seth Smith and Rule 5 pick Aneury Tavárez, plus switch-hitting Rule 5 pick Anthony Santander. The camp roster also includes Chris Dickerson, Logan Schafer and David Washington.
Bourn is a career .270/.337/.366 hitter versus right-handers. Gentry, who’s made a tremendous early impression with the Orioles based on his speed, defense and arm, is a career .268/.350/.357 hitter against left-handers.
The platoon possibilities on this club are endless.
Each new outfielder brings into question how the Rule 5 picks and Joey Rickard could be impacted. Rickard can play all three outfield positions and perhaps work into a platoon with Kim or Smith.
The Orioles re-signed Mark Trumbo in January to a three-year deal and he also could be part of a platoon in right field when he isn’t serving as the designated hitter.
Bourn is a career .266/.329/.357 hitter in 11 major league seasons with the Phillies, Astros, Braves, Indians, Diamondbacks and Orioles. He’s a two-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner.
The Braves released Bourn on April 9 and the Blue Jays released him on May 7. He signed with the Diamondbacks three days later.
Bourn’s deal includes a March 25 opt-out if he isn’t in the majors, according to ESPN.com.
Update: I’m told the opt-out is March 27.