Marlins first baseman Justin Bour has won his arbitration case over the Marlins, according to his agent, Marc J. Kligman of Total Care Sports Management (Twitter link). Bour will earn $3.4MM in 2018, his first year of arbitration eligibility, beating out the $3MM salary the Marlins proposed. MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projected a $3.5MM award for Bour at the outset of the offseason.
The victory for the 29-year-old Bour comes on the heels of a career season in which he slashed a robust .289/.366/.536 with 25 home runs and a .247 ISO in 429 plate appearances. While the lefty-swinging Bour struggled versus same-handed pitchers from 2014-16, he turned it around against them last year and established himself as an everyday first baseman.
Overall, Bour has been a significant offensive threat during parts of four major league seasons, having batted .273/.346/.489 across 1,279 PAs. However, he has never played more than 129 games in an individual campaign, and injuries helped limit him to a combined 198 contests from 2016-17 (108 last year).
Should Bour stay healthy in 2018, he’ll be one of the few consistent forces in a Miami lineup that, compared to prior years, looks depleted. The club has traded away its previous starting outfield – Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich – in cost-cutting moves this offseason, leaving Bour and catcher J.T. Realmuto as its offensive centerpieces. It’s possible Realmuto will also find himself in another uniform by the start of the season, given the plethora of trade rumors surrounding him this winter. Bour, on the other hand, seems likely to remain a Marlin.