Exit Interview: Peter Bourjos

For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season.  Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series.  All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis.   Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.

Player: Peter Bourjos

Season stats: 117 games, 225 PA, 32 R, 8 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 5 SB, 8 CS, 19 BB, 59 K, .200/.290/.333, 69 OPS+, -0.8 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Hero 3, Goat 8

Overall grade: D

Positives: Equaled his home run total from the year before in 70 fewer plate appearances….hit .267 in April, his best month of the year (though two of his four hits that month came in one game)….hit .500 with a runner on third and less than two outs (though he only had 9 PA in those situations)….had a .919 OPS in late and close situations (54 PA) and a .990 OPS in high-leverage situations (48 PA).

Negatives: Continued to be unable to use his speed, getting caught stealing than he was successful….hit .087 in 55 second-half PA….hit .080 as a pinch-hitter….had a .530 OPS with nobody out and a .529 OPS with two outs.

Overview: The thought on Bourjos has always been that if he could play consistently, he’d get into that rhythm and start to show some of those offensive talents that he’s been rumored to have.  That may be the case, but he still didn’t get a real great shot at that regular play this year, even with the slow healing of Jon Jay giving him the opening.  Of course, Randal Grichuk showed he could handle the position and when you’ve got a guy like that hitting for power it because difficult to give Bourjos the time to settle in.  He didn’t get his first start of the year until April 26 and didn’t start back-to-back outings until he did so from May 6-8.  Even that two-hit day in Philadelphia back in April didn’t get him on the field in the next game until the eighth.

It really is a bit of a catch-22.  With an offense needing any pop it can get, you can’t run Bourjos out there regularly.  And, as noted, if he’s not out there regularly, there’s questions about what he can give you.  I’m still somewhat doubtful that even a full run of games for Bourjos would see him produce significantly–the stretch in May where he started 17 of 24 he hit .239/.301/.373–but the fact is the situations here really haven’t given him that opportunity.  No one expected Grichuk to develop the way he has, Bourjos couldn’t recover from surgery quickly last year and Jon Jay took his job, and now there’s a whole slew of Cardinal outfielders.  Bourjos has taken all of this well, though you know he’s been disappointed with how things have gone, especially being left off the postseason roster.

Outlook: Bourjos is up for arbitration, but there’s no way the Cardinals do anything but non-tender him and let him become a free agent.  Well, unless they can trade him before they have to make a decision–we’ve heard people like Minnesota were interested before–but with little leverage it seems more likely they’ll set him free and he’ll sign on with someone else during the winter.

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