Even with veteran Carlos Santana at first base and Rhys Hoskins as a backup for first base, the Phillies went out and acquired first baseman Justin Bour from the Miami Marlins. Bour, who has only played at first base in his major league career, was claimed off waivers by the Phillies who then worked out a deal to acquire Bour and cash from the Marlins for minor league pitcher McKenzie Mills.
In 112 games with the Marlins this season, Bour had a slash line of 19-54-.227/.347/.412 as a first baseman and designated hitter. In his career, he’s played in 478 major league games over five seasons with 83 home runs, 272 RBI and a line of .262/.346/.470 with all of his time coming with the Marlins.
The 30-year old Bour bats left and when you look at his splits on the season you can see a reason why he may have been of interest to the Phillies. In 117 at-bats against left-handed pitchers he hasn’t produced much power – two home runs – and hits just .197, but against righties, he’s hit 17 of his 19 home runs and has a .241 average and .360 on-base percentage. When you contrast that with Santana – 5 home runs, .241 vs lefties and 12 home runs .209 against righties – you can see where Bour may be of some help versus right-handed pitching.
While the Phillies have been searching to upgrade their bench, adding a player who is positionally limited to playing only at first base is an odd addition.
The Phillies had acquired Mills, along with international slot pool money, from Washington last July when they traded Howie Kendrick to the Nats. Mills, 22, has spent the season with Clearwater and was 2-5 with a 3.51 ERA in 16 starts and four relief appearances with Clearwater. In 89 2/3 innings this season, the left-hander struck out 85 batters and walked 33. Over three minor league seasons, Mills was a combined 19-20, 4.01 since being drafted by the Nationals in the 18th round of the 2014 Draft.
To make room for Bour on the 40-man roster, pitcher Jake Thompson has been designated for assignment by Philadelphia.