PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have found a left-handed power bat for their bench for the final weeks of the season.The Phillies announced Friday afternoon that they have acquired first baseman Justin Bour and cash from the Marlins for Minor League left-hander McKenzie Mills. The deal immediately jogged memories of the
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have found a left-handed power bat for their bench for the final weeks of the season.
The Phillies announced Friday afternoon that they have acquired first baseman Justin Bour and cash from the Marlins for Minor League left-hander McKenzie Mills. The deal immediately jogged memories of the Phills' trade that brought Matt Stairs from Toronto to Philly in August 2008.
Bour hit .227 with 19 home runs, 54 RBIs and a .759 OPS in 447 plate appearances with the Marlins. He has an .835 OPS against right-handed pitching and, interestingly, he has hit .304 with two home runs, six RBIs, 16 walks and a 1.227 OPS in 11 games against the second-place Braves, whom the Phillies play seven times in their final 11 games.
Bour could start occasionally at first base, but the more likely scenario is that he will become a weapon off the bench for Phils manager Gabe Kapler.
"I envision him being a dynamic, power-hitting weapon off the bench," Kapler said. "The plate discipline fits right in with our lineup. He's really hurt the Braves. I think that matters. He's going to be a tough out against a right-handed reliever, against a right-handed starter. We're going to look for ways to be opportunistic in deploying him."
Philadelphia has primarily gone with a four-man bench this season, but general manager Matt Klentak emphasized Bour's offensive value as the main reason the club selected the 30-year-old off waivers.
"We liked the profile of the player," Klentak said. "He fits our style of offense very well. He works counts, takes walks, hits the ball out of the ballpark. We've been thinking about our bench for a while now and trying to create some versatility on our bench and add some different weapons. Obviously with Roman Quinn joining the team recently, that adds a certain element to our bench. But what we've been lacking is a big power hitter on our bench."
The Phillies' bench for the moment includes catcher Andrew Knapp, outfielder Roman Quinn, Scott Kingery and infielder J.P. Crawford, who was activated from the 10-day disabled list (broken left hand) on Friday. Once Bour arrives, Kingery or Crawford is expected to be optioned, although the Phillies could option a reliever if they decided to keep five bench players for the first time this season. Bour essentially takes the bench job that players like Dylan Cozens and Mitch Walding have occupied at times.
Philadelphia's bench will change again whenever catcher Wilson Ramos is activated from the 10-day disabled list and the roster expands as early as Sept. 1.
Bour, who should benefit from playing half his games at cozy Citizens Bank Park compared to cavernous Marlins Park, cannot become a free agent until after the 2020 season. It remains to be seen what will happen with Bour in the future, but for the moment, the Phils hope he can hit a few home runs down the stretch. And, maybe, hit a moonshot like Stairs did in the 2008 postseason.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Bour, the Phillies designated right-hander Jake Thompson for assignment.
Mills, 22, went 2-5 with a 3.51 ERA in 20 appearances (16 starts) for Class A Clearwater. The Phils acquired him from the Nationals in July 2017 for Howie Kendrick.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.