Will Braves sign Bourn to big extension? Should they?

The Braves had been looking for a dynamic leadoff man since Rafael Furcal left after the 2005 season, and they had lacked a superb center fielder (who could stay healthy) since Andruw Jones left a couple of years later.

Bourn, a two-time Gold Glove winner, has made a few brilliant plays in center field since being traded to the Braves on July 31.

Bourn, a two-time Gold Glove winner, has made a few brilliant plays in center field since being traded to the Braves on July 31.

In Michael Bourn, they have both Furcal and Andruw. And have neither of them. Because while he brings some of the best attributes of those two, including strong defense and big-time disruption on the bases, he is also unlike either of them in other ways.

With Bourn eligible for free agency after the 2012 season, the question becomes: What is he worth? And probably more importantly, what will his agent, Scott Boras, think he’s worth? (We can assume the Boras initial asking price will be a deal of at least five years with an annual salary far higher than any team thinks he’s worth, then go from there.)

Bourn is making $4.4 million this season and eligible for arbitration once more next spring, so unless he signs a long-term deal I’d expect him to get a raise to at least $6.5 million for 2012 through arb. But I’m just speculating; it’s tough to find comparables.

Should the Braves try to sign him to an extension this winter? Lock him up just in case he cranks out another 60-stolen base season in 2012 like he had in ’09, with a plus-.300 average like he has this season? Or risk losing him as a free agent if Boras finds that one team that believes it when Boras tells them Bourn is the difference-maker, the missing piece, for that team? That happens.

Also consider that the Braves don’t have any center fielders in their system who appear to be even close to major league-ready in a year or two. For those reasons, and for fact he’s fit in well and given them pretty much exactly what they were hoping for since coming over in a July 31 trade, I’m pretty sure the Braves will discuss a possible extension with Boras and Bourn this winter.

Now, just try finding a current player in the majors similar to Bourn in order to draw a comparison. I couldn’t. Others who steal anywhere near the number of bases he does, don’t hit for power, but get a lot of doubles, triples. Have multiple Gold Gloves.

Some other leadoff hitters steal fewer bases, in the 30-40 range, but with more power and/or higher OBPs.

Curiously, Baseball-Reference.com’s “similarity scores” to denote players similar to Bourn list Alex Cole, Bert Daniels and Rube Ellis as the first three, and for players similar to Bourn through age 27 (Bourn turned 28 after last season), Baseball Reference lists Brett Butler as the most comparable, followed by Bill North, Max Flack and Rudy Law.

If you notice, these are all players from different eras. A few of them played nearly a century ago, and all but one of the others had their heyday in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

There are not many contemporaries than compare to Bourn, a throwback to eras when it was enough for a leadoff hitter and/or center fielder to have exceptional speed and hit for a good average.

In the past couple of decades, leadoff hitters, like most others, stopped stealing as many bases and started hitting more homers.

Bourn would have fit in with the Rube Ellis-era St. Louis teams around 1910 — or with Terry Pendleton’s St. Louis teams of the mid-1980s. T.P.’s Cardinals squads had Ozzie Smith, Vince Coleman and Willie McGee hitting just a few homers apiece while stealing 40, 50 or more bases apiece. And in the case of Coleman, many more steals than that.

Bourn is hitting.302 with a .359 OBP and 47 steals in 129 games, with, 29 doubles, seven triples, two homers, 43 RBIs and 79 runs.  In 79 games since May 30, he’s hit .326 with a .374 OBP and 29 steals.

In Baseball America’s annual survey of major league managers for the recent “Best Tools” issue, Bourn was rated the NL’s best baserunner, its fastest baserunner, and its best defensive outfielder.

So again, what do you pay a guy like that in today’s game? The only guy who made well into eight-digit salary annually while stealing tons of bases and hitting only 6-8 homers per season that I could think of is Ichiro Suzuki, but they’re really not even comparable.

Ichiro came to the U.S. as a Japanese icon, already 27 and a free agent, and was both the AL MVP and Rookie of the Year in his first season with the Mariners. He made the All-Star team and won a Gold Glove for 10 consecutive seasons before this one, and finished in the top 20 in MVP balloting seven times.

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The B raves haven't had a base stealer comparable to Bourn since Rafael Furcal, and Furcal never came close to 61 steals.

Ichiro has also had over 200 hits every year in the majors until this one, and led the AL in hits a stunning seven times in his first 10 seasons. He’s a .327 career hitter with a .422 OBP and.793 OPS, to Bourn’s .272/.338 with .697 OPS.

The only area where Bourn’s topped him is steals, and even there Ichiro has stolen more than 30 bases for 11 consecutive seasons, once led the AL with 56, and stole more than 40 three other times. He also has had seasons with 13, 15 and 11 home runs.

Again, they’re not even comparable players. Ichiro was a game-changing player like no other of his skills in this era.

Not that anyone was comparing them, but if they did it would be silly. By the way, Ichiro is in the fourth season of a five-year, $90 million contract extension.

A far more apt comparison would be Juan Pierre. So let’s do that:

Pierre signed a five-year, $44 million contract with the Dodgers after the 2006 season. That contract was/is viewed as one of the worst that any team gave out then or since – a deal so bad the Dodgers paid a good chunk of it to have the White Sox take the player and the deal off their hands after the ’09 season.

Of course, if he’d produced in recent years like he had before, it wouldn’t have been viewed so harshly in retrospect.

In that ’06 season before he got the deal, Pierre hit .292 with a .330 OBP and .717 OPS at age 28 with the Cubs, with 58 stolen bases, 45 extra-base hits, three homers. Numbers not unlike Bourn in recent seasons.

The difference is, Pierre had turned in six strong seasons before getting that contract, six seasons in which he’d stolen 45 or more bases, batting .287 or higher in four of them and with an OBP of .360 or higher in three.

In 2004, for example, Pierre hit .326 with a career-high .374 OBP, .781 OPS and 45 steals. And he’d stolen 65 bases the year before that, in 2003 with Florida.

This is only the third season in which Bourn has hit for a good average and OBP as an every-day player.

So yes, Pierre is actually a closer comparison, but he had better – or longer — credentials going to free agency. And again, that deal has been widely regarded as a bad one, even more as Pierre’s numbers declined in subsequent seasons.

Pierre is making $8.5 mill this season, still in that contract he signed with the Dodgers. His highest salary was $10 mill in 2009.

How much do you want to bet that Boras asks for more than Pierre got? Maybe a lot more.

How high would you go if you were the Braves? Would you offer $8 mill per season in a five-year deal for a guy who doesn hit for power, but does a lot of other things and steals bases better than anyone in the league? I don’t even know if Boras would even consider that salary, but would you offer it if you were the Braves?

Getting back to the two Braves referenced earlier, Andruw and Furcal.

One-time Brave Brett Butler is the most similar player to Bourn, according to a formula used by Baseball Reference.

One-time Brave Brett Butler is the most similar player to Bourn, according to a formula used by Baseball Reference.

Bourn certainly doesn’t hit home runs like Andruw Jones, but Andruw didn’t steal many bases, at least not after 2000. Home runs get the big salaries, as we know, and he knew when he bulked up and started swinging for the fences.

Furcal only stole as many as 30 bases two times in six seasons with the Braves, and stole more than 40 just once. Bourn leads the National League with 47 steals this season, after leading the league with 52 in 2010 and 61 in 2009.

However, Furcal also averaged nearly 14 homers during his final three seasons with the Braves, slugging .443, .414 and .429 in those seasons. Bourn has a .359 career slugging percentage, and his .394 this season is his best. He slugged .346 in 2010, .384 in ’09.

Bourn is not as good defensively as Andruw in his prime – how many in history have been? – but he’s won Gold Gloves each of the past two seasons and will probably win another this year. Bourn is a very good defensive center fielder.

Furcal, in his time with the Braves, hit as high as .285 only twice, and posted an OBP as high as .350 only twice. Bourn has hit .302 with a .359 OBP this season, and hit .285 with a .354 OBP in 2009 (he slipped to .265/.341 in ’10).

Bourn is 28, and appears to be getting better (think about that – he’s only a year older than Ichiro was when Ichiro came to the U.S. in 2001. But there I go comparing him to Ichiro again, when there really is no comparison between the two.)

Furcal came to the majors at 22 (officially, at least) and played his last season with Atlanta at 27.

Going back to the original Baseball Reference comparison players, Brett Butler is one that some Braves fans are familiar with. He started his career as a Brave, but only played parts of three seasons for Atlanta and didn’t become a standout until later.

By the way, Butler was a bit of a freak like Ichiro in that he played till he was 40, and had some of his best seasons in his early and mid-30s. At age 34 in ’91 with the Dodgers, Butler led the league in games played (161) and plate appearances (730).

At age 35, Butler hit .309 with a .413 OBP and 41 stolen bases.

If you’re going to sign a player to a long-term deal, generally it’s the smaller, fitter players who are a better bet to stay healthy and viable for the length of the contract. Then again, Nate McLouth is not exactly a good example for that.

But in general that rule holds true. And so, Bourn might be a better bet than most who are signed to a deal that carries them to age 32 or 33.

Would you do it? If it took $8 million or more per season in a five-year deal? Would it be worth it to have leadoff and center field pretty well covered for the next five seasons?

Personally, I think so. But I also know that Boras might think his guy is worth more than that, perhaps worth more than any player of comparable production (of which there are few os his particular skill set, as we discussed).

By the way, Butler obvioiusly played the game in a entirely different financial era, but just out of curiosity, take a guess at the highest salary he ever made.

Keep in mind, he finished in the top-25 in National League MVP balloting six times in seven seasons from 1988-94, including an All-Star season in ’91 when he hit .296 with a .401 OBP and league-leading totals in walks (108) and runs (112).

He was seventh in the MVP balloting that season, and made just over $2.8 million.

Butler made about $24 million in his entire 17-year career, with a one-year high of $3.5 million.

♣ OK, let’s close with an apropos classic from James McMurtry. And please keep in your thoughts or prayers all those Virginians, New Englanders and others who are still suffering in the flooding and other aftermath of Hurricane Irene. You can hear this tune by clicking here.

UCf3BijnVB3u_m

“HURRICANE PARTY” by James McMurtry

The hurricane party’s windin’ down and we’re all waitin’ for the end
And I don’t won’t another drink, I only want that last one again
He gave me such a fine glow, smokin’ slow, now I should probably be homeward bound
There’s just no one to talk to when the lines go down

I guess that in the morning I’ll go lookin’ for my gray-striped cat
My old house can take the weather so I’m not too concerned about that
It was built to take the wind back in nineteen-and-ten when this was one damned fine town
But now there’s no one to talk to when the lines go down

Candles flickered on the back bar and the building was shakin’ with the wind
I bought a whiskey for the gypsy and she turned my leather back into skin
Just a fleeting sense of that rare suspense I once thought made the world go round
But now there’s no one to talk to when the lines go down

Open up your back screen door
Let me see your face once more
My hands are cold and my feet so sore
And I can’t go on this way

And the thoughts come too fast and too many to keep count, best just to let ‘em on through
Now I’m breaking those glass insulators with my old 22
Off the telephone polls as a half dollar rolls across the knuckles of a rodeo clown
There’s just no one to talk to when the lines go down

My one great love, my God, I can feel her still
She ran off to California and now she’s living in those Hollywood hills
With some bullfrog prince, I’ve not seen her since
Though she calls when he’s out of town
And there’s no one to talk to when the lines go down

Open up your back screen door
Let me in your space once more
I was looking for an easy score
But it just don’t work that way

Some insurance man-biker is yellin’ out for one more beer
But a part-time pirate just can’t get much respect around here
We got our problems too, man we’ll get to you
In just a minute, sit your drunk ass down
Yeah, there’s no one to talk to when the lines go down

Now there’s water up past the wheel wells of my
Ford and I don’t guess that it’ll run
But I left a pack of Winston’s on the dash, could you fetch ‘em for me son?
The morning’s first cigarette, that’s as good as it gets all day I should know by now
But there’s no one to talk to when the lines go down

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

1,265 comments Add your comment

Venice Jim

August 28th, 2011
11:02 pm

Thanks, DOB!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

August 28th, 2011
11:08 pm

Since there is no salary cap in MLB, how big a “big” extension is really just depends on how much the Braves are willing to spend in overall payroll. As long as giving Bourn an extension doesn’t conflict with their ability to keep Freeman/McCann/Heyward around when their contracts expire or are up for negotiation, pay the man and keep him around.

Kimbrel rocks

August 28th, 2011
11:11 pm

YES SIGN HIM LIKE yesterday

David O'Brien

August 28th, 2011
11:13 pm

Fixed the link to McMurtry song now, if you want to go back and click it. Great tune by one of my favorite artists.

Ryan

August 28th, 2011
11:15 pm

Michael Bourn will not become a free agent until after the 2012 season.

bruce

August 28th, 2011
11:16 pm

Lots of money, don’t really know what to think, we’ve got the highest paid secondbaseman, not sure how it all adds up and still pay for the other players, but he is a difference-maker and it really is fun to have one like him on the team.

Venice Jim

August 28th, 2011
11:17 pm

And True Blood ends with a very new version of “Burning Down the House” – definitely not the Talking Heads…

Kimbrel rocks

August 28th, 2011
11:17 pm

i think if the braves are going to be a WS contender for a couple of years Bourn will make the decision to stay here. let’s not forget it is HIS decision at the end of the day. the fans, players, and organization truly appreciate his skill set. that goes a long way. and he is a southern boy……i think he’s saying in ATL with the other country boys (and warm weather) :)

David O'Brien

August 28th, 2011
11:18 pm

In Baseball America’s annual midseason survey of major league managers for the recent “Best Tools” issue, Bourn was rated the NL’s best baserunner, its fastest baserunner, and its best defensive outfielder.

bravobraves

August 28th, 2011
11:19 pm

the Braves need to lock up Bourn. Like stated in the article we have no one MLB ready in our minor league system. As a fan i enjoy watching the thrilling speed he brings on both offense and defense. He is a top 5 leadoff hitter in the MLB and will score more times than not once he reaches. The braves need to give up the money and lock him up with the phillies having a similar player in victorino.

Al Beeski

August 28th, 2011
11:20 pm

Kudos, DOB, on another great article, which really shows the difference in eras and why baseball is such a special sport. Personally, i think u hit the nail on the head when u mentioned that we do not have anyone on the farm who could be a everyday CF. Of course, Boras knows this as well and unfortunately will use that against us. But we DEFINITELY need to keep him if we can get him for under $10 mill/per.

Venice Jim

August 28th, 2011
11:21 pm

DOB – very much enjoying the song – thanks!

bravobraves

August 28th, 2011
11:22 pm

the Braves need to lock up Bourn. Like stated in the article we have no one MLB ready in our minor league system. As a fan i enjoy watching the thrilling speed he brings on both offense and defense. He is a top 5 leadoff hitter in the MLB and will score more times than not once he reaches. The braves need to give up the money and lock him up. The Phillies being our biggest competition in years to come have a dynamic Cf in shane Victorino who i believe has his own league of power speed and defense. SIgning Bourn will make the braves contention with the Phillies much closer.

Clayton H

August 28th, 2011
11:24 pm

Bourn has been worth roughly 5 WAR (per 162 games) according to Fangraphs for each of the last three seasons. 1 WAR is equal to above 5 million dollars per year. Even factoring in some decline (despite the fact that he is entering his peak years), a deal for about 10 million per year would be a huge steal. I’m all for a 4 year deal at 10-11 million dollars per year. No organizational depth and a rare talent who is entering the peak of his career.

The Grinch

August 28th, 2011
11:30 pm

I think we should sign him. He makes the team better on a number of levels, and there isn’t much in the way of alternatives.

Dman

August 28th, 2011
11:30 pm

You forgot that Jorge Constanza could play cf.

Columbus

August 28th, 2011
11:31 pm

Ummm free agent in 2012 right?

The Braves will definitely sign him I believe. He does not hit a lot of homers so how much could he be? 7.5-8 mill?

They want some speed(FINALLY!) and have seen the benefit of it and they have no other significant cash tied up in the outfield already. I think with the extra cash they will have when they do not pick up the option year on McLouth next year, they will resign Bourne. Then with Lowe leaving after 2012 for sure and maybe Chipper too, that frees up 15-29 million for 2013 to help out, along with upping some of the younger guys salaries.

JoshTown

August 28th, 2011
11:31 pm

Thanks for the blog, DOB. Glad everyone made it back home safe, though 3 days of no Braves baseball hasn’t been that fun. Would I sign Bourn? I think in a heartbeat. Not only has re-energized this team, he’s created constant scoring opportunities that have given us the cushion in the WIld Card. Without a good prospect down on the farm, it seems to me it’s the right decision. He can give us what Nate should’ve the last couple of years. And the guys in the clubhouse seem to love him. Has he ever expressed any interest in post-game about wanting to stay, etc?

Hoops Dawg

August 28th, 2011
11:31 pm

I agree with you Mark. If we can get him for 5 years at 40 million, by all means pull the trigger. We’ve seen a very different offense this past month with Bourn and Costanza. Speed wins!!

Feeach

August 28th, 2011
11:37 pm

Amazing stuff Chief! Sign him. Pay him.

Kat

August 28th, 2011
11:43 pm

I assume I’ll be repeating what some others have posted but Bourn has brought something we’ve been missing to Atlanta and as said in the blog we don’t have in the minors. He doesn’t solve all our problems but can one person really do that anyways? I mean maybe but I’m sure if that player existed we’re not the Yankees and we couldn’t afford whomever that would be. But on Micheal, in my ‘expert fan who sits on my couch opinion’ is keep him and try to lock him down as early as you can.

Good song choice — for my first hurricane here up north it wasn’t so awful, no power for a little bit but that was about it along with some other interesting points.

Choppinmama

August 28th, 2011
11:46 pm

The team needs a player like Bourne with speed in the lineup. That’s the piece that has been missing for years, somebody that can worry the opposing pitcher, make the infield throw the ball around trying to catch him.
He’s plenty fast and athletic enough in the outfield, and he can single and double the opposition to death. He seems willing to sacrifice his body for the play, a quality I haven’t seen Jason exhibit yet.

Heck yeah, sign him up.

Ooohh, DOB throws McLouth under the bus…….ouch!!

Around The Horn

August 28th, 2011
11:47 pm

Sign him, but at a reasonable, yet fair amount — and not the kind of exorbitant numbers Boras always seems to push for.

Rick in Dallas

August 28th, 2011
11:47 pm

Mack ” The Knife” Jones ready for a comeback ?

Heyward grounds out to second

August 28th, 2011
11:49 pm

Yes, sign him. He’s a great leadoff hitter, has consistent production, is a stand up guy, has a good glove and amazing speed.

He’s the missing piece of a good line up that makes us great. Lock him up for five years and we will always be a contender as long as our pitching remains good as well. He makes things happen.

TnBrian

August 28th, 2011
11:52 pm

It’s Jose Constanza, and no, he’s a career minor leaguer having flukey success in the bigs. I like him as a 4th OF/ bench player, but Bourn is a sure thing no doubt. I bet Wren goes all out for this guy come his free agency time. Hope so.

ObiWankobe

August 28th, 2011
11:54 pm

When looking for a comparison you missed Willie “Mays” Hayes.

noliee

August 28th, 2011
11:54 pm

I think some team will offer 5/50 or so. not sure he is worth that much.
sure sign him if the price is reasonable. He may continue to improve or he may regress to the mean some.
I don’t think an extension should be automatic, but he seems to be the kinda player that Wren likes so it won’t surprise me if he offers a bit more than he might be worth.

Simpson's Homer

August 28th, 2011
11:56 pm

Absolutely, the Braves should work out a long-term deal for Bourn. When you have an asset that virtually no other team has, you would be foolish to let it slip through your fingers, to join someone like the Phillies, Giants, Mets, Yankees or Red Sox. It’s unlikely to be Pittsburgh or Seattle that signs him after 2012 – it’s likely to be one of our chief obstacles to winning a World Series any time in the next decade!!! Lock him up!

If Jose Constanza continues to play well (anything over .280) in the future, he makes for a great 4th outfielder at worst. If he continues to outhit Heyward vs. lefties by such a large margin, he would be a great option for those situations.

Choppinmama

August 28th, 2011
11:58 pm

DOB – wow! Great topic. Well researched, great comparisons, good insights. One of your best efforts of the season. Isn’t it great when you have a few days to put a story like this together? Kinda like the luxury the pro football guys have to work on their game stories.

We’ll start cracking the whip again tomorrow! More stories, feed the insatiable appetite of blog monster…………

noliee

August 28th, 2011
11:59 pm

down here Irene as a two would just be considered a stiffish breeze, dontcha know?
Seriously glad most have checked in and seem to be ok.
Hope Lew is safe up there.
A bit ironic that some of the worst trouble was created after she dropped to a storm from a hurricane.
You just never know with them damn things

TnBrian

August 29th, 2011
12:01 am

And then when Wren loses out at resigning this guy the nuts will set this place on fire. Like nolie just said though, Bourn is a Wren type player, probably goes overboard some with him. He stays a Brave for many years to come for my prediction.

wes

August 29th, 2011
12:06 am

with kk, nate, lowe, chip soon to be gone we should have the money to sign him. Plus we gave up 4 players to get him which I don’t think they would have done without the intention of signing him long term. But as it is our only hole to fill in the offseason is ss. We need more speed like a reyes or rollins. Not those guys because of injury and age but someone whos game is comparable.

Choppinmama

August 29th, 2011
12:06 am

DOB – very off topic, but what have you been hearing about the movie “Moneyball”? I’ll go see it because it’s about baseball and I can drool over Brad for a couple of hours, but will I come out of the theater satisfied?

Haven’t read the book either, how was it?

noliee

August 29th, 2011
12:12 am

with kk, nate, lowe, chip soon to be gone we should have the money to sign him. …wes

good chance that Chipper and Lowe will not be gone in time to help defray a signing cost for Bourn this winter, especially Chipper.

panamajack

August 29th, 2011
12:14 am

I think I would take my chances and wait and see what he does next year also see what Constanza and Heyward do next year. I have seen too many players get the big long term contract then fizzle afterward. After next season they should have some big bucks available with the retirement of Chipper, Lowe leaving and probably Hudson, lots of money there if we still need a CF and quite possibly they won’t need anything else.

Mister Frisky

August 29th, 2011
12:18 am

Lock it down.

noliee

August 29th, 2011
12:20 am

I think I would take my chances and wait and see what he does next year also see what Constanza and Heyward do next year….panama

Unless he agreed to a surprisingly low deal-highly unlikely wit Boras as his agent- I think I would wait too.

wes

August 29th, 2011
12:20 am

both will be gone after next season when bourns current contract ends. It’s not a given we try to sign him to an ext. This offseason but with kk and nates contracts off the books we should have enough to sign him to a 10m a yr contract.

fastasballs

August 29th, 2011
12:28 am

I’m all for locking him up. He filled a serious void both in CF & as a high OBP guy that the top of the order needed. I’m sure Wren makes a push to sign him long term.

Those of you looking for Chipper to be off the books in short order are probably going to be wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised at this point if he’s not back for 2013 as well. ESPN just post a nice article on Hoss a bit ago, comparing him with the top 5-6 third baseman to ever play the game.

Ward

August 29th, 2011
12:39 am

Hello every one! Why talk about the Bourn signing now? To cause panic until then?We all know Wren will sign him! Why worry about it now? Let’s focus on the race to the Play-Offs…….

Larry

August 29th, 2011
12:39 am

100% YES…contingent upon a fair and reasonable contract terms–if there is such a thing?

After having season tickets for over 20 years I gave them up last season for one primary reason…I had absolutely grown so bored with the Braves “brand” of baseball I no would almost invariably leave the games early and even on TV would fall asleep and often go back and forth between the game and a movie.

The Braves had a well balanced lineup from the early 90’s through about 2001, maybe 2002. The speed in the early/mid 90’s of Otis Nixon, Deion Sanders, Ron Gant, Lonnie Smith, Marquis Grissom and even Terry Pendleton complimented by the power of Sid Bream, David Justice, Brian Hunter, Fred McGriff, for me, was more balanced and much more enjoyable for me and, save for a few bonehead playoff decision by YKW, we have one or two more World Series Championships.

Fast forward to about 1999-2000 and we begin a personality change of less speed and moving to a 3 run homer mentality that would last up until the trade for Bourne at the deadline. It should come as no coincidence that we haven’t come close to a World Series the last 10-11 seasons because of this as our sole dependence on the home run ball could never survive the great pitching in the playoffs. In other words, Bobby Cox’s love affair with the 3 run homer was not only inhibited this team’s versatility in the postseason, it was just painfully boring to wait, and wait, and wait for the big home run!

Meanwhile, other teams were winning the World Series this past decade that could manufacture runs in the postseason both ways: the big, timely home run, and the ability to “manufacture” runs with speed that leads to misplayed balls, stolen bases, hit and runs, etc.

I want Borne and Constanza on this team, and I want us to continue to emphasize speed at all positions as we prepare for this and future seasons where PED’s are no longer over inflating the power game and pitching is expected to dominate the nest several years.

Speed, defense, power, contact.situational hitting–coupled with great pitching–is championship caliber baseball, and personally I haven’t been more excited about the current Braves lineup that can compete in the postseason in about 14-15 years!

Awesome job by Frank Wren, not only getting Bourne, but the price he paid to get him!

As a bonus…Bourne seems to be a really great guy and looks to be well liked and respected by his teammates.

Ward

August 29th, 2011
12:41 am

Worry about Bourn in the Off-Season,and then start focusing on saving money, by cutting players like Agon,and Lowe,and put that money away for a third baseman for the following year.

Braveone

August 29th, 2011
12:43 am

From the previous blog which had 2,644 comments, noliee led the way with 216 posts. There were 186 different poster names. Here are the Top 25:

Rank Poster Frequency

1 noliee 216
2 Tom O’Hawke 159
3 Venice Jim 141
4 McFann :Ô: :Ô: 129
5 cabravesfan 97
6 Efrim 78
7 phil 66
8 Sopheee 64
9 Brava 59
10 Kat 59
11 tiger297 59
12 ncscoots 55
13 Snotboogie 52
14 MIBravesFan 49
15 George 46
16 David O’Brien 45
17 keylargo 43
18 JC from DR! 38
19 Bat Masterson 37
20 timthebrave 36
21 Shaun 34
22 bravesgrl4lifee 34
23 Mixxo 31
24 Ward 30
25 Lew 29

Ward

August 29th, 2011
12:48 am

Focus on Bourn in the Off-season,and also try to get Infante back! We also find a way to sign J.J. too,and Hanson……

noliee

August 29th, 2011
12:50 am

both will be gone after next season when bourns current contract ends…wes

not a given. Chipper might easily decide to finish out that last year of his contract, and if they wait until the winter of ‘12 they lose a bit of the advantage of being the only tean in the dealing that an extension might give them.

Ward

August 29th, 2011
12:54 am

We let Chipper play his final year of contract,and then we don’t have to do too much for that year,but sign players,and just go get a couple of bargain players for the bench……

Unknown Hinson

August 29th, 2011
12:58 am

Ward

August 29th, 2011
12:59 am

Most definately we sign Bourn first than J.J.

Choppinmama

August 29th, 2011
1:02 am

Meanwhile, other teams were winning the World Series this past decade that could manufacture runs in the postseason both ways: the big, timely home run, and the ability to “manufacture” runs with speed that leads to misplayed balls, stolen bases, hit and runs, etc.

Larry – and your comments about Bobby – the boring wait between 3 run homers (which was great when it happened, but when it didn’t , we were lousy at manufacturing) – are so right on!!

Bourne, Constanza, Jason, Marteeen, AGon need to find the way to get on, then, the big boppers can move then around or in. Bourne and the rest of the team speedsters can worry the heck out of the pitcher and fielders. It’s exciting baseball. To me, speed gives the players a really good chance to influence the game on the bases.

Good pitching and aggressiveness. We look good moving into the end of the season and into the wild card playoffs. We have the players to make a good run. Let’s see how the coaching works. Feeling moderately comfortable with that too. May get more comfortable with Fredi & Co. towards season’s end.

Mike S

August 29th, 2011
1:05 am

Anybody hear from Lew since he logged off this morning? Looks like Vermont just got killed today with flooding. I saw some weather channel clips & photos, and boy, just devastation in some of those small towns. How sad. I think it was more in southern Vermont, and I think Lew is farther north, so hopefully he’s alright. The blog is thinking about you buddy!

Choppinmama

August 29th, 2011
1:08 am

McFanned those italics! Gettin late for me.

I may be forced to watch the Filthies today if they’re playing.

Hope all you folks effected by Irene are safe and dry tonight.

Mike S

August 29th, 2011
1:10 am

I got a chance to pass through Brattleboro, VT earlier this summer, and it is one of the coolest, most beautiful little towns you could come across. Stopped to eat at a sandwich shop, right on Main St. It is such a shame that that street (among many others of course) is now completely under water.

BehindEnemyLines

August 29th, 2011
1:11 am

5/$40m seems like a very good deal, I wouldn’t flinch a bit at 5/$50m. Beyond that it starts to get a lot tougher.

benchwarmer

August 29th, 2011
1:19 am

So the Braves have won some kind of real high percentage since Bourne took the field for them. Can you say a key player has arrived on Aaron Blvd? Sign the man if you can, he is a game maker who contributes in several ways. To borrow from Chipper, Bourne has a large affect just being in the lineup and defensive skills too. O boy!

noliee

August 29th, 2011
1:19 am

He’s having a career year, don’t think I’d give him 10 per off of that one year. He might regress. If I had to give that I think I’d wait, but Frank might very well be willing to pay that. something to look forward to seeing how it turns out :D

benchwarmer

August 29th, 2011
1:21 am

Jayson Heyward has this kind of potential with some pop too. Hope he’s still a brave when he gets it all going.

Ward

August 29th, 2011
1:23 am

benchwarmer: I agree,and we shouldn’t let Heyward go either……..

panamajack

August 29th, 2011
1:25 am

I beleive the braves will need a SS next year, I don’t think A-Gon will settle for a 1 year contract because he can get a long term deal somewhere else and the braves are not going to give him more than 1 year because Pastronicky will be ready in 2013. Braves will have to trade for a SS during the off season and it will have to be someone with just one year left on his contract.

RemoW

August 29th, 2011
1:25 am

Great article about Chipper’s place among all 3rd baseman.
http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/15464/where-chipper-ranks-among-all-time-3b
Chipper haters don’t read.

Ward

August 29th, 2011
1:27 am

SS next year, just bring up Pastornicky,and we get Infante as well……

The Dude

August 29th, 2011
1:28 am

Bourn is exactly what the Braves have been missing and $8 million is reasonable for him. Braves need to be careful with the number of years he’s given. One, players get slower when they get older. Two, injuries affect speed guys more. And Three, stolen base guys tend to quit stealing bases after they get long term contracts.

panamajack

August 29th, 2011
1:32 am

I would like to see Chipper play two more seasons but I don’t believe his knees will hold up one more season if he even makes it the rest of this year I will be surprised. I would much rather have a full time 3rd baseman than pay him $15mil to play part time.

Mike S

August 29th, 2011
1:35 am

And thanks for the late-night, in the midst of some off days, surprise bloggage, DOB. Of course you didn’t have to do it, but we appreciate that you did! Good stuff with all of the numbers and comparisons. Juan Pierre was immediately who I thought of, when you mentioned comparisons right off the bat. Maybe the fact his contract has been pretty much universally panned will keep Bourn at a reasonable price, but with Boras you never know…

I’m with you though, if you can extend him with a reasonable deal, say 4-5 yrs at $8-9 per, then by all means go for it. But once you get well past that amount, I think they should hold off on an extension.

Mike S

August 29th, 2011
1:40 am

Some of this might depend on Constanza too. Because right now, of course, he seems like he’s just riding a hot streak and likely isn’t the prototypical leadoff hitter that Bourn is. But say he finishes the year still on fire, still getting on base at a really good clip and stealing bases; he starts looking like an everyday player and capable leadoff man, and not the 4th OF/PR type player that pretty much everyone had him pegged as before his call up. Then maybe you do have a Bourn replacement internally…

Ward

August 29th, 2011
1:42 am

I liked Constanza,before the brought up,and he would be a great 4th out-fielder,and late defense in the 7th inning on up…….

noliee

August 29th, 2011
1:45 am

great article. Chipper is my favorite all time Brave and one of my top 5-6 players, but I’m not buying him as the second best 3rd baseman of all times. I’d rank him 4th or 5th.

Ward

August 29th, 2011
1:47 am

Chipper is not better than Edddie Mathews,but he is good……

Jethro Bodine

August 29th, 2011
1:50 am

noliee

Would you rank Schmidt as the best all around?

Johnnynewguy

August 29th, 2011
1:54 am

Juan Pierre was never on the White Sox before he was traded in 2009 to them. In 2006 the White Sox had Scott Podsednik playing LF. The only Juan on the team was Juan Uribe who played shortstop. Juan Pierre played for the Chicago CUBS in 2006 his only season with them.

Jethro Bodine

August 29th, 2011
1:54 am

RemoW

Thanks for the article. Should have read it before asking about Schmidt, the second player I saw inducted (Seaver was first) in person at the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

lookingoveryourshoulder

August 29th, 2011
1:59 am

Just got to stay from a Scott Boras player. Bourn is a good fit here, but keeping him means dealing with Mr. Greed himself. Stay away from he who deals a losing hand.

Ward

August 29th, 2011
2:05 am

I think Bourn will do the honorable thing,and sign like Dan Uggla at a reasonable deal.My prediction………

Rowsdower

August 29th, 2011
2:10 am

Boras is an ass and will try to bend the Braves over and take them for everything their worth this offseason. It will be the only time the Braves will have exclusive negotiating rights with Bourn. If they can get it done for 5/$40 you have to pull the trigger. Anything more than that and it becomes and upside down proposition. Like buying a car you can’t afford at a ridiculous interest rate.

Bourn is a solid player, but he is certainly not elite. He shouldn’t be paid 8 figures like an elite player. There’s a CF coming into free agency after 2012 that IS worth elite money. Cat by the name of Matt Kemp. If you’re gonna pay that kind of scratch, you gotta get the more complete player.

Every team that Bor-ass tries to fleece for Bourn is going to look at the Pierre deal and balk at the price. Don’t let him make Bourn out to be something he’s not…

noliee

August 29th, 2011
2:13 am

yes Schmidt first.at least of all the ones I’ve seen, which were all he mentioned except Home Run Baker :D

Ward

August 29th, 2011
2:16 am

Rowsdower: Perhaps you didn’t hear how well Bourn fit in with the players,and how he treated every one in the club house .He’s a nice kid,and we shouldn’t have problems…….

Jethro Bodine

August 29th, 2011
2:17 am

noliee

Were you in the stands when Cobb spiked Home Run Baker in 1909?

noliee

August 29th, 2011
2:20 am

he’s not a kid. He is at the age when he will likely get his best contract ever, especially coming off his best season. I don’t see him signing cheap and giving up that opportunity with Boras as his agent. we’ll see.

Rowsdower

August 29th, 2011
2:20 am

Being a great fit is worth a few bucks, but not $2M per year. If he were a pain in the ass (see Lofton, Kenny), we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

noliee

August 29th, 2011
2:20 am

no I missed that game, but Cobb was one of my favorite players.

Ward

August 29th, 2011
2:22 am

Rowsdower: what ever…………………

RemoW

August 29th, 2011
2:23 am

Jethro Bodine: Very cool that you have actually been at the HOF induction ceremony. I really considering trying to go for Maddux and someday Chipper.

Rowsdower

August 29th, 2011
2:26 am

Well said.

I take it you disagree and you think the Braves should just give Bourn a blank check? Bourn is a great fit for the Braves, but that doesn’t make him more valuable on the open market. Boras will spin it that way and pit the Braves against themselves while every other team tells him to suck one.

RemoW

August 29th, 2011
2:26 am

Noliee: Who do you put in front of Chipper?

haggard

August 29th, 2011
2:28 am

noliee

I thought it was sorta picky a few years back when the Baseball Reference folks took a hit away from Cobb and dropped his lifetime average a point to .366. Sorta looks a bit pedestrian after seeing .367 by his name at the top of the heap all those years.

noliee

August 29th, 2011
2:30 am

hag , is that really you? if so, I guess the rumors of your demise were greatly exaggerated….

Bay Area Steve

August 29th, 2011
2:31 am

Ruh-roh.

The ‘where’d haggard go’ stuff is about to reignite.

Character or not, good to see the name…

noliee

August 29th, 2011
2:32 am

Mathews and likely Brett, but that one is close.

noliee

August 29th, 2011
2:33 am

whatcha think about the third basemen BAS? You da man.

Bay Area Steve

August 29th, 2011
2:34 am

I blame Tom O’. I have no reason to, but…

And, as a Tom O’ aside: nice to see VJ thwarted again. VJ pads stats like the hair-bears of the ’80s padded bras. There’s some paddin’ goin’ on, is what I’m sayin’.

But, no matter. Done thwarted, son.

noliee

August 29th, 2011
2:35 am

c’mon now, don’t ignore my question and hurt my feelin’ses BAS

Bay Area Steve

August 29th, 2011
2:39 am

Don’t make me baseball-reference, noles. I’ve had a glass or two of this fine whiskey, and I only skimmed the earlier stuff.

Without looking (and I never really saw the others play), I gotta think Michael Jack, Pinetar, and the other Brave cat are ahead, right. Brooks has gotta be behind. And, are you guys saying Ty Cobb played third? I thought he was a four…

I’m sayin’ he’s fourth best all-time, with special consideration for bein’ a switch, and a one-team, WS-champ… Do I win?

noliee

August 29th, 2011
2:39 am

alright be that way. I am gonna leave in a huff……..

clay

August 29th, 2011
2:40 am

Wren will get it done. I can’t wait to watch him and contanza on the base paths the next few years.

Bay Area Steve

August 29th, 2011
2:40 am

Damn, noles. Can I get a second? A second? Some of us don’t hunt and peck all that well…

noliee

August 29th, 2011
2:41 am

just in time. yes you win. and Baker player third, Cobb just spiked him….maybe

David O'Brien

August 29th, 2011
2:41 am

Choppinmama, the book was very good, and the movie cast looks excellent. Beyond that, I have no idea how good it will be. No reviews yet.

By the way, had a couple of hours to do that blog, not couple of days. But thanks much for the kind words.

Ward

August 29th, 2011
2:41 am

noliee: I would take Mathews over Brett,and Mike Schmidt over Brett,but that is just me.

noliee

August 29th, 2011
2:43 am

me too ward. I’d rank Brett and Chipper very close together behind those two

Ward

August 29th, 2011
2:47 am

noliee: Yeah, Like it………

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