On Wednesday, the Phillies claimed center fielder Peter Bourjos off waivers, reuniting him with GM Matt Klentak. Klentak, of course, was a longtime assistant GM with the Angels, the organization that drafted and developed Bourjos. Having that background knowledge of Bourjos factored into Klentak’s decision to claim him from the Cardinals, but in a conference call with reporters, the exec pointed out that it has been a while since they were in the same building.
“[The familiarity] factored in for sure, probably most notably because I think very highly of Peter Bourjos the person and that is something that I’ve been talking about since I first started here six weeks ago, which is the importance of building an environment,” Klentak said when asked by MLBTR. “I happen to have first-hand knowledge of knowing Peter, knowing what a great human being he is, and how he fits into a roster. From my perspective, yes, my history with him was important, but I haven’t been with him for the last few years he was in St. Louis, so we’re relying on the information that we have here at our disposal.”
By adding Bourjos to the fold, the Phillies have bolstered an outfield mix that already includes Odubel Herrera, Cody Asche, and youngster Aaron Altherr. One might wonder then if veteran free agent Jeff Francoeur is the odd man out. Klentak declined to say if he’s actively having dialogue with Francoeur’s agent, but he did make it clear that the team is not ruling out a reunion with the soon-to-be 32-year-old.
“I wouldn’t say the addition of Bourjos takes us us out on any player. We’re still going to be open minded and we still have spots on our roster. I don’t think claiming Bourjos and adding him precludes us necessarily,” said Klentak.
It will be interesting to see exactly what the Phillies can get out of Bourjos, who has yet to replicate his breakout 2011 campaign with the Halos. Klentak mused that his struggles could have been caused by his troublesome hip, the development of Mike Trout ahead of him in Anaheim, his position in St. Louis alongside an already strong outfield, or a combo of the three. Whatever the reason for his stumbles, Klentak is hopeful that the Phillies can get him back to his old form.