Orioles sign Bourn to minor league deal (updated)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette is on a roster roll.

The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. He can earn $2 million if he returns to the majors.

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.

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