TODAY: The deal is official. Cash or a player to be named will head to Chicago in return for Bourjos.
YESTERDAY, 11:09pm: Bourjos is indeed heading to the Rays in exchange for cash considerations, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago reports on Twitter.
10:41pm: The Rays are “working on a deal to acquire” outfielder Peter Bourjos from the White Sox, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter links). Bourjos, who’ll turn 30 in a few days, signed with Chicago on a minor-league deal over the winter.
Valued mostly for his speed and defense, Bourjos has been inconsistent with the bat and owns a lifetime .243/.300/.382 batting line. But he has had his moments at the plate over parts of seven MLB seasons. And he owns a productive .313/.340/.521 slash this spring, seemingly opening the door to semi-regular playing time with the rebuilding White Sox.
It could be, though, that the Sox have other ideas up the middle. 25-year-old switch-hitter Jacob May has topped Bourjos’s stat line and could be ready for a shot at the majors despite meager production last year in his first attempt at Triple-A. With the Article XX(B) free agent decision deadline looming, it seems Bourjos didn’t really factor into the Sox’ plans.
It seems that Bourjos will function as a reserve outfielder in Tampa Bay. As Topkin notes, Colby Rasmus is expected to open the season on the DL, which creates some need for depth. And the club evidently isn’t content with utilizing Mallex Smith as the only center field-capable reserve; like Kevin Kiermaier, he’s a left-handed hitter. What the addition means for Smith remains to be seen.