The trade of Justin Bour to the Philadelphia Phillies boiled down to one factor: the Marlins saw no future for the slugging but slow-footed first baseman in Miami.
Bour and his team-leading 19 home runs were dealt Friday to the front-running Phillies for a left-handed, minor-league starting pitcher, McKenzie Mills, who is not considered a premier prospect.
The Marlins were so eager to unload Boar that they even included an unspecified amount of money to cover part of the the approximate $900,000 still owed to him this season.
“I think it fits with what the organization’s been talking about as far as the direction we’re going in the future, getting guys that are more athletic, speed,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly.
Bour was not that player.
He is a lumbering, defensively awkward slugger who, perhaps more than any other Marlin, suffered from the absences of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and others who were traded last offseason.
As the lone remaining power threat in the diluted lineup, Bour saw fewer pitches to do damage with and, as a result, drew far more walks as pitchers were perfectly willing to give him first, upon which the station-to-station Bour became a one-man logjam on the base paths.
“With J.B. in the lineup, we were getting a run or two a game,” Mattingly said in dismissing the loss of home run power Bour provided. “It’s not exactly like we were lighting the world up offensively. It does change the dynamic.”
Still, Bour proved to be a bargain find for the Marlins, who acquired him from the Cubs in the Triple A phase of the Rule 5 draft in 2013 for $12,000. Bour hit 82 home runs the past four seasons with the Marlins but saw his key numbers -- batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage -- drop this season in the watered-down lineup.
The Phillies are expected to use Bour as a lefty power bat off the bench as they continue their playoff push.
“I’m excited to go and contribute however I can,” Bour said as he walked out of the Marlins clubhouse Friday. “I’ll be forever thankful the Marlins took a shot at me and I was able to make the most of it. I wanted to be part of the future here but heading elsewhere.”
For now, Derek Dietrich will take over most of Bour’s duties at first base as the Marlins await the return of Garrett Cooper from the disabled list.
The Marlins made a couple of other roster changes Friday, placing reliever Kyle Barraclough on the disabled list with lower back soreness, re-instating reliever Drew Rucinski from the DL, and selecting the contract of outfielder Rafael Ortega from Triple A New Orleans.
Ortega, who spent some time with the Rockies in 2012 and Angels in 2016, was hitting .275 with two home runs and 12 stolen bases at New Orleans. He started in left field on Friday for the Marlins.
Mills, 22, was assigned to Double A Jacksonville. An 18th-round draft pick of the Washington Nationals in 2014, Mills was traded to the Phillies last summer and had gone 2-5 with a 3.51 ERA this season at Single A Clearwater.
“We’ve been out front in talking about the types of players we think fit organizationally for us moving forward,” said Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations, in discussing Friday’s trade. “We like athletes. We like players who are going to impact on both sides, offensively and defensively. With trading Justin we saw an opportunity to add a quality left-handed starting pitcher.”
-- Mattingly said outfielder Lewis Brinson could begin a minor-league rehab assignment in the coming days.
-- Cooper will handle the bulk of the chores at first base once he returns from his DL stint, Mattingly said.
-- Barraclough’s back injury is not considered “major serious,” Mattingly said, but was the likely cause of his recent struggles.
“It sounds like this is something that may have been bothering him a little bit, and him trying to pitch through it,” Mattingly said. “It’s something he’s had a little bit in the past.”