What a difference two years makes.
In November 2013, outfielder Peter Bourjos was the centerpiece of the St. Louis Cardinals’ take from the Los Angeles Angels in the four-player trade that sent popular third baseman David Freese to California.
In the interim, the lesser-known player received by the Cardinals in that deal, outfielder Randal Grichuk, has earned the center field job in St. Louis. On the other hand, Bourjos endured two years of injuries and inconsistency that led to uneven playing time and culminated in his Wednesday waiver claim by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Passed not only by Grichuk, but also two other rookies in Stephen Piscotty and Tommy Pham and with Jon Jay also on the roster as a reserve outfielder, Bourjos’ days with St. Louis seemed numbered. The impending event appeared to be the 2016 contract tender date for arbitration-eligible players this evening at midnight.
Instead, St. Louis sent Bourjos through the waiver process ahead of time. One must assume they were trying to trade him and failed. From the waiver wire, Philadelphia picked him up.
The Phillies are required to place Bourjos on their 40-man roster and unless they non-tender him Wednesday evening, they assume his arbitrated salary commitment for 2016. Bourjos steps into another situation where he is likely destined to be a reserve behind a standout rookie, as Odubel Herrera claimed the everyday center field job and incumbent Ben Revere was traded away.
Update: Late Wednesday afternoon, the Phillies announced they had agreed to terms with Bourjos on a one-year contract.
In his two seasons with St. Louis, Bourjos appeared in 236 games, making 519 plate appearances. The right-handed hitter logged an aggregate line of .218/.292/.342/.634. Known for his defense and speed, the 28-year-old initially announced hopes to steal 30-40 bags during his first season, but instead went just 14-for-25 over his total time as a Cardinal. A healthy Bourjos was left off St. Louis' 2015 National League Division Series roster, replaced by Pham.
Bourjos is the fourth member of the Cardinals five-man bench for the 2015 season to be cut loose, following the recent departures of shortstop Pete Kozma (minor league free agent), third baseman Mark Reynolds (MLB free agent) and catcher Tony Cruz (traded earlier Wednesday).
With this move, the Cardinals’ 40-man roster is down to 35 players.
St. Louis now has five remaining arbitration-eligible players - Matt Adams, Brandon Moss, Trevor Rosenthal, Seth Maness and Steve Cishek. The latter is most likely to be non-tendered with the decisions coming later Wednesday.
For more roster detail
Remember that to see the entire Cardinals system from the Dominican Summer League to St. Louis in one graphical view with all transactions, free agents and more, check out the Roster Matrix, kept updated at The Cardinal Nation Blog.
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