The Baltimore Orioles have released outfielder Michael Bourn and infielder Chris Johnson. The Orioles re-signed Bourn and signed Johnson this offseason.
The Baltimore Orioles have released outfielder Michael Bourn and infielder Chris Johnson. Bourn played for the Orioles last season and was re-signed to a minor league deal this offseason, Johnson last played for the Miami Marlins and was signed to a minor league deal. Both Bourn and Johnson received invitations to Spring Training.
While Johnson was outright released by the team, Bourn decided to use an opt-out clause that was in his contract, deciding to be come a free agent rather than stay with the Orioles in whatever role they decided he should be in (which may have been the minor leagues).
Bourn is 34 years old and was traded to the Orioles last season in a deal that sent Jason Heinrich to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Last season, Bourn finished the year slashing .264/.314/.371 with five home runs, 48 runs, 38 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases in 113 games and 413 plate appearances.
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Bourn’s best days are well behind him, likely his best season was in 2009 with the Houston Astros when he batted .285/.354/.384 with three home runs, 97 runs, 35 RBIs, and 61 stolen bases.
However, it’s likely that he’ll end up with a major league team somewhere in need of speed and outfield depth, as he’s still a good fielder and a good base stealer.
Johnson is 32 and played for the Miami Marlins in 2016, playing in 113 games and hitting .222/.281/.329 with five home runs, 20 R, and 24 RBIs, by far the worst year of his career.
Johnson made somewhat of a name for himself with the Houston Astros and more so with the Atlanta Braves, building a reputation for himself as a high-average, decent power hitter.
Johnson’s best season came in 2013 with the Braves when he batted .321/.358/.457 with 12 HRs, 54 R, and 68 RBIs, much of which was fueled by an insane .394 BABIP.
It’s not a surprise that the Orioles would deem Johnson an unnecessary member of the team. He’s not a young prospect, and the team has little need of depth at the third base position. If anything, they’re overcrowded in that part of the field.