The Blue Jays released outfielder Michael Bourn from his minor league deal over the weekend, tweets John Lott of Vice Sports. (The news, it would seem, first appeared on the Florida State League’s transactions page.) The veteran center fielder had agreed to a minors pact with Toronto late last month and was playing well with the club’s Class-A Advanced affiliate, hitting .257/.366/.371 with a pair of doubles, a triple and a stolen base (one attempt) in 41 plate appearances prior to his departure from the organization.
Presumably, Bourn will seek employment with a club that has a clearer path to big league time. His best bet with the Blue Jays had seemingly been to supplant the fleet-footed Ezequiel Carrera as Toronto’s fourth outfielder, but Carrera’s production soared after Bourn was signed to his deal (though that’s largely coincidental, of course). Carrera has collected 11 hits in his past 23 at-bats, and he offers the Jays a younger player with a skill set similar to that of Bourn.
The 33-year-old Bourn is earning $14MM in 2016 — the final season of a four-year, $48MM contract he signed with Cleveland prior to the 2013 campaign. The Indians and Braves (who acquired Bourn last August) are on the hook for his salary this season, meaning he would only cost a signing club the pro-rated portion of the league minimum for any time spent on the Major League roster. Bourn’s offense has slowly deteriorated since signing with Cleveland, though, in part due to hamstring injuries that have also led to prolonged stints on the disabled list. After hitting a combined .284/.348/.388 with 103 stolen bases in the two seasons leading up to his free agency, Bourn has batted just .253/.313/.366 with 50 steals over the first three years of his current contract.