The Orioles have released outfielder Michael Bourn, according to a club announcement. Bourn exercised his opt-out clause yesterday, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter), and the team obviously elected not to add him to the active roster.
Bourn thrived with the O’s late last year, hitting .283/.358/.435 over 55 plate appearances. And he might well have earned an Opening Day roster spot had he not gone down with an injury during camp. At this stage, though, the opportunity wasn’t there.
While Baltimore surely would’ve preferred to maintain the depth that Bourn offered, there wasn’t really a place for him at the major league level. The club already carries two part-time, left-handed-hitting outfielders in Seth Smith and Hyun-Soo Kim, with righties Trey Mancini and Joey Rickard also part of the outfield picture alongside center field stalwart Adam Jones.
It’s possible, though hardly certain, that Bourn could command a big league job with another organization upon his return to the open market. His ability to handle center field is an obvious benefit. And he has reached base at a .373 clip through eleven games at Triple-A on the year, with ten walks against eight strikeouts, and has swiped three bases.
At the same time, Bourn carries only a .220 batting average through his 51 plate appearances at the highest level of the minors and has managed just two extra-base hits in that brief span. It’s worth bearing in mind, too, that Bourn had largely struggled at the plate over the prior two seasons before landing in Baltimore.