7:35pm: Bour will not be in MLB camp, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. He’ll report to minor league camp April 1.
5:03pm: The Giants have agreed to a contract with Justin Bour, the first baseman himself posted in his Instagram profile. It’s a minor-league contract, reports Andrew Baggarly of the Athletic (Twitter link).
Bour is probably best known for a solid four-year run with the Marlins. He peaked in 2017, when he hit a robust .289/.366/.536 with 25 home runs in just 429 plate appearances. Bour’s offensive production tailed off in 2018, though, particularly after an August trade to the Phillies. He couldn’t right the ship in 2019, where he slumped to a .172/.259/.364 mark after signing with the Angels.
After being outrighted off Los Angeles’ 40-man roster, Bour signed a one-year contract with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. While there had been some hope he’d rediscover his power stroke in NPB, Bour slashed an unspectacular .243/.338/.422 with 17 homers across 379 plate appearances.
It has now been three years since we’ve seen Bour at peak form, but there’s no risk for San Francisco in bringing him in as depth. First base is sure to belong to Brandon Belt when he’s healthy, but the longtime Giant underwent heel surgery last October and might not be ready for Opening Day. Each of Wilmer Flores, Darin Ruf and Jason Vosler is on the 40-man roster as a potential replacement if Belt can’t go at the start of the season. Among them, only Vosler (who has yet to make his MLB debut at age 27) hits left-handed, so Bour’s lefty bat helps balance the group.