Mark Shapiro added an old friend to the Blue Jays this morning, signing 33-year old outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported the news, which seems to be a bit of an odd fit given the presence of Dalton Pompey and Darrell Ceciliani in Buffalo.
Bourn previously landed a 4-year, $48 million contract from Mark Shapiro prior to the 2013 season, so Toronto's front office should be extremely familiar with his skill set. He is a left-handed hitter and a former 6 WAR player, but is coming off a very poor season with a slash line of .238/.310/.282. Bourn clearly did not live up to that big contract, but he was a very good player from 2009-2012.
At this stage of his career, Bourn looks capable of playing above-average defence in a corner outfield position. Although he offers some speed, he is not the same player that stole 215 bases over a four year span. He struggles against left-handed pitching and offers minimal power, but he may provide some on-base ability against right-handers.
Ken Rosenthal believes that Bourn could be a sensible filler for the Blue Jays leadoff role, but I cannot see that happening. Bourn is a below average hitter for his career, even against right-handed pitching, and Michael Saunders likely provides more in terms of on-base ability. On another interesting note, Bourn is a Scott Boras client, an agent the team tended to avoid during Alex Anthopoulos' tenure.