December 12 - Justin Bour has agreed to a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels, the magazine has learned.
The former Westfield High School and George Mason University standout was one of the top first basemen on the market after the Philadelphia Phillies placed him on waivers last month. The terms of the contract won’t be officially announced until he has passed a physical, but the New York Post has reported the deal to be for one year and $2.5 million.
Bour, 30, was acquired by Philadelphia in a trade on Aug. 10 while in the midst of his fifth season with the Miami Marlins. He hit .227 with a .341 on-base percentage, 20 home runs and 59 RBI in 501 plate appearances between the two clubs, this after a career-year in 2017 in which he hit .289 with a .366 on-base percentage, 25 homers and 89 RBI in 429 plate appearances.
In 2018, he set career-worsts in batting average and slugging percentage (.404), saw his OPS (on-base plus slugging) drop by over 150 points to .746 and set a career-high with 124 strikeouts. But Bour’s ability to reach base was still in the top half of all first basemen. Since 2015, he has reached the 20-homer mark three times and ranks fifth in baseball with a .403 on-base percentage with two outs (min. 500 PAs with two outs). Three of the players ahead of him - Mike Trout (.481), Joey Votto (.431) and Bryce Harper (.428) - have won Most Valuable Player awards, and the fourth, Paul Goldschmidt (.438), has finished in the top three in the National League vote three times.
With the Angels, Bour is likely to platoon at first base with a future Hall of Famer in Albert Pujols, and could also see at-bats as the designated hitter. He’ll join a lineup that also includes perhaps the game’s best player in Trout, as well as the American League’s Rookie of the Year, two-way star Shohei Ohtani, and another Virginia product in Justin Upton, who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2005 out of Chesapeake’s Great Bridge.
The 6-foot-3, 265-pound left-handed swinging slugger participated in the 2017 Home Run Derby. In three seasons with the Patriots, he hit 46 homers, the second-most in program history, before being selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 25th round in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft.
He was acquired by Miami via the Rule 5 Draft in December 2013, then made his Major League debut with the Marlins on June 5, 2014 by going 2-fo-5 with an RBI against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Bour set a school-record as a senior at Westfield when he slammed 10 homers in 2006. He hit .546 with 33 RBI that spring en route to first-team all-state and Washington Post All-Met honors.
Photo of Justin Bour via Associated Press