Michael Bourn a Phillie or a Nat? Say it ain’t so, Scott Boras

Michael Bourn has been a big part of the Braves' rebuilt offense. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Michael Bourn has been a big part of the Braves' rebuilt offense. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

We all know that Michael Bourn will be a free agent at season’s end. We all know that he’s represented by the dreaded Scott Boras, meaning he won’t come cheap. We all know that the Braves haven’t been willing to pay for big-ticket free agents lately, unless you count Derek Lowe.

And now comes more good news: If Bourn doesn’t stay here, he’s apt to wind up playing for a team in the Braves’ division.

Buster Olney of ESPN Insider lists the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies (link requires registration) as likely-if-not-downright-ardent Bourn suitors. The Washington link has been around a while, and the Philly tie makes sense. Bourn came up in the Phillies’ organization.

On cue, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer names Bourn as a probable target for the Phillies, who just dumped center fielder Shane Victorino and right fielder Hunter Pence. To his credit, Bourn refused to sniff at the notion, telling Brookover: “Ryan [Howard] and Jimmy [Rollins] are friends. I know Cole [Hamels]. I know Kyle Kendrick. I know they have a good team, but right now I’m worried about putting this ‘A’ on my head and going out and playing baseball. That’s about it.”

We’ve gotten used to seeing big names depart Atlanta after a brief layover here — Gary Sheffield, J.D. Drew, Mark Teixeira — but for the Braves to lose Bourn would be a real blow. They’d long sought a center fielder and a leadoff hitter, and in Bourn they’ve found both. And the thought of seeing him leading off for someone else in the same division would be rather revolting. But, as they say in baseball, that’s baseball.

Oh, and how good has Bourn been in 2012? FanGraphs assesses his WAR (wins above a garden-variety replacement player) value as 4.6 games. Among non-pitchers, that’s the 14th-best in baseball. Jason Heyward is 15th, Martin Prado 26th. Be a shame to break up that outfield.

By Mark Bradley

202 comments Add your comment

Benjamin

August 8th, 2012
11:47 am

First. And hopefully Bourn will be stealing second for us for years to come…

J-MO

August 8th, 2012
11:49 am

If the Braves don’t at least make a competitive offer to re-sign Bourn, I’m going to have a really hard time being a Braves fan in 2013.

JoshTown

August 8th, 2012
11:50 am

Thanks, Mark. I’m hoping with all the money coming off the books we can at least make a RUN at signing him. With Prado moving to the infield next year, it’d be nice to keep 2/3rd’s of it intact. Maybe if his production continues to dip like it has these last couple of months, he becomes more affordable at seasons end?

Old devil

August 8th, 2012
11:50 am

JWOOD

August 8th, 2012
11:50 am

How much money can the Phillies keep tying up in big contracts? I know they sell a lot of tickets, but they are going to have a lot of money tied up in old knees, ankles, arms without taking on a long term contract with a young now, soon-to-be-old center fielder.

Old devil

August 8th, 2012
11:51 am

Maybe next time, like a lot of atl teams

Chipper Why(Have you been so good)

August 8th, 2012
11:52 am

J-MO,

Blame Liberty Media and MLB. It is a complete joke that one of the largest market teams is being trashed by a worthless corporation.

Mark Bradley

August 8th, 2012
11:52 am

Kudos, Benjamin.

Mark Bradley

August 8th, 2012
11:53 am

And nobody becomes more affordable, JoshTown, with Boras behind them.

Chipper Why(Have you been so good)

August 8th, 2012
11:53 am

The only way we will keep Bourne is if he can convince Boras to not go for the top dollar.

In other words welcome to the Nationals Bourne. I loved seeing you in a Braves uniform.

Clemson Brad

August 8th, 2012
11:54 am

Really curious what kind of contract offers Bourn will get..

5-6 years, 70 Mil? something in that range? Hell, with Boras..it could be even more.

Sneakers O'Toole

August 8th, 2012
11:54 am

Pay the man. Got some money coming off the books ( Chipper 14, Lowe 10, JJ 5.5), the next year you got Mac’s 11.5 coming off. Pay Bourn, we can afford it and still do some shopping.

Sneakers O'Toole

August 8th, 2012
11:56 am

Also Atlantans… There is no “E” in Bourn. That’s a movie.
It’s also M-E-D-L-E-N not Medlin.

ChopAttack

August 8th, 2012
11:56 am

Makes sense… DC and Philly fill their stadium every night. The Braves have a middle of the road attendance and a middle of the road payroll. Not sure why anyone is surprised.

PHX Jacket

August 8th, 2012
11:57 am

Heresy I know, but I’d trade McCain and use three money that frees up to pay Bourn.

StevoDeg

August 8th, 2012
11:58 am

Nice little article, Mr. Bradley! By the way, any idea what Bourn’s monetary value is? What type of deal do you think Boras would be looking into, per year and how many years?

Chopattack

August 8th, 2012
11:59 am

Until Braves fans start selling out the Ted the Braves won’t be able to compete for high priced free agents.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 8th, 2012
11:59 am

Agree w/ JWood at some point the Phillies cannot spend the 75-80 mill it would take to get Bourn. The Nats obviously have the payroll flexibility but do they have a need? They have a OF of Harper,Morse and Werth. Laroche is signed longterm to play 1B. This could simply be Boras being Boras and working the back channels stirring the pot.

TampaGator

August 8th, 2012
12:00 pm

When was the last time Braves management dealt with Boras?……If the Braves falter down the stretch….I see Bourn being dealt to someone for multiple on field prospects….because the Braves management will not deal with Boras…..no matter how good the player is. I think they said that a few years ago….if I am not mistaken. However, if Bourn is not signed….I guess they move Heyward to center and Johnson plays full time in right. Braves….therefore…..not as good in 2013. Relent Braves manahement: RESIGN BOURN….DEAL WITH BORAS. GET OVER IT. SPEND SOME DAMN MONEY ON A REALLY GOOD CENTERFIELDER WHO CAN CAN GET ON BASE, STEAL BASES…IF GONZALEZ WOULD EVER LET HIM……AND PLAY GREAT DEFENSE IN CENTERFIELD. SHOW THE FANS SOMETHING….GET BOURN BACK.

Brian H.

August 8th, 2012
12:02 pm

The Braves HAVE to sign Bourne. No question. That is a no-brainer.

I’m tired of hearing the penny-pinching talk. We’re not going to mortgage the future on high-paid free agents. We’re not going to trade away our future by giving up prospects.

High-paid free agents are usually high-paid because THEY ARE GOOD. Now I’m not suggesting going crazy with big money contracts, but you have to spend some money to get good talent.

Protecting the prospects makes sense if you have legitimate talent that needs to be protected. However, I’m not too impressed so far with any of this “great” talent that is being protected. All of these young pitching studs that come up seem to be inconsistent and get sent down.

TampaGator

August 8th, 2012
12:03 pm

Chopattack….

All you have to do to sell out the Ted is announce that fans will be REQUIRED to do the wave twice every inning…..and texting during key times during games is REQUIRED. And no one will be expected to watch the game and know anything about baseball.

TampaGator

August 8th, 2012
12:04 pm

…….everyone knows in their heart….right now…..that the Braves management has no intention of resigning Bourn. Hell….Johnson can play in the OF for less than a mill. Why resign him?

Steve From Dalton

August 8th, 2012
12:06 pm

Make a good offer but don’t pay stupid money for Bourne.

ragnar danneskjold

August 8th, 2012
12:07 pm

A smart GM would start planning for life after Bourn. Andrelton Simmons looks like he could be a lead off batter, with a little more seasoning. Reed Johnson looks like a solid outfielder, so we need only one more. There will surely be a couple of non-Boras outfielder-free-agents in November; is this a contract year for Hunter Pence?

Bahwitdabah

August 8th, 2012
12:09 pm

Chipper Why(Have you been so good)

August 8th, 2012
12:11 pm

They cant sign him people.

The Braves dont have the money.

If we offered 20 million a year Boras would get 22 from the Nationals, and they will certainly pay it. Not a big deal considering our division rivals spend 30 to 60 million more a year than we do.

That’s enough to buy a Bourn, a Cliff Lee, and a Victorino.

JoeFan

August 8th, 2012
12:13 pm

Bourn looks weak against in lefthanded pitching and strikes out way to much for a leadoff / contact hitter. Expect the Braves to opt for a one year rental if they think Cunningham will be ready in 2013 /14.

Rick

August 8th, 2012
12:13 pm

As I watched the game last night I knew that Philly would make a play for Bourn in the off season. It makes great sense! They got rid of the whole outfield and will need to sign a true center fielder to play. I dont want Bourn leaving and I think that this is one of the guys you finally decide to pay in terms of years and contract if you are the Braves. We got him for a STEAL so after all this money comes off the books this year lets shift some of it towards Bourns way……………..Scott Boras client or not!

JM

August 8th, 2012
12:17 pm

this is terrible news

George Stein

August 8th, 2012
12:17 pm

Mark Bradley just cited WAR. This is a momentous occasion.

abby normal

August 8th, 2012
12:19 pm

If Frank (The Genius) Wren had not given Uggla that insane extention we might have the bucks to get into the Bourn sweepstakes. As is, I don’t think we have a chance to sign him. Hope I’m wrong.

Dawg Haus

August 8th, 2012
12:25 pm

Locking up Bourn should be priority #1 for the Braves this offseason. They’ll have a good bit of money that would otherwise be used for Chipper’s salary to play with, so I’m sure they can make both Bourn and Boras very happy.

Coach

August 8th, 2012
12:25 pm

I am sure the Braves will make a competitive offer for Bourn, they would be insane not to. If he does not resign, why not give Constanza a shot at the job? He has speed, covers alot of ground, steals bases. Granted, he does not have the experience that Bourn has, but you are not going to gain experience unless you play everyday. Prado will be our long term answer at third, and should be locked up long term for the work he has put in with the braves. Last, but not least, when we lose Bourn (hopefully not, but expecting the worst here!), you go after a BIG bat. I am not talking some run-of-the-mill outfielder, but somebody that will sticks butts in the seats and that will draw big crowds. It should be interesting if the braves will even tender a contract to Jurrjens after the season, as he is up for arbitration again(who is also represented by Boras)

Milt Famey

August 8th, 2012
12:26 pm

MB,
Just how much money does Phil. have? I believe they owe Hamels, Lee and Halladay approx 68 mil next yr and I’m not sure how much they owe Rollins and Howard. The problem with signing Bourne is that he will want a six-yr contract (or longer) for 15-20 mil per yr. These contracts which look good now may not be so attractive when he is 37-38 yrs old. (See Cliff Lee)

Heisenberg

August 8th, 2012
12:26 pm

So Buster Olney only regurgitates what myself any many other on these blogs have been saying for months when it comes to Bourn. And people pay for it? Not a worldwide leader insider subscriber and this only confirms no need to ever be one.

Dirty Dawg

August 8th, 2012
12:27 pm

Enter your comments here

Chipper Why(Have you been so good)

August 8th, 2012
12:28 pm

I wonder who we will get after the Phillies, Nationals, Angels, Rangers, Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, and Phil Mickelson’s Padres drain the talent market?

I agree with the poster that suggested we trade Michael Bourn right now. Trade him to an AL west coast team.

If you cant have him then make it hard for our division rivals to get him.

Old Dog

August 8th, 2012
12:28 pm

Free agents are never worth the amount of money or the number of years they receive. Remember Lowe? Though Uggla wasn’t a free agent, he still commanded big bucks and long years. The list goes on and on.

Why?

August 8th, 2012
12:29 pm

Has anyone thought if Bourn even wants to be here? The Braves could give him the contract he’s looking for, but may decide to go elsewhere. Just something to think about…..

Milt Famey

August 8th, 2012
12:31 pm

It’s easy to criticize FW about Uggla now. I’ll bet nobody was doing so last Aug-Sept when he was hitting HR’s consistently. There are no guarantees. How about the Ben Sheets gamble? Not bad, huh? And lest we forget, FW brought Bourne without trading away very much.

Bill

August 8th, 2012
12:31 pm

Good as gone, thanks Liberty Media.

dixie brave

August 8th, 2012
12:31 pm

I believe the Braves will make him a fair offer for his services. It probably won’t be the highest offer but it will be fair. So at the end of the day if he truly wants to be a Brave, He will be a Brave.

Coach

August 8th, 2012
12:32 pm

This is true that there is alot of money coming off of the books, but some players are going to be getting raises next year. Prado, O’Flaherty, and Jurrjens will be arbitration eligible and will get raises. McCann will be up around $13 million for his option/contract year. Needless to say, it will be an interesting offseason for the Braves. First things first, make the playoffs in 2012.

C from Marietta

August 8th, 2012
12:33 pm

ROFL

How exactly will trading Bourn now make it hard for a divsion rivial to get him?
That’s funny. He is still a free agent after this season.

bill

August 8th, 2012
12:33 pm

Knowing the braves we will let him walk and use that money to give McCann a “FAT”(pun intended) contract when it’s time to re-up him. Does anybody else find it shameful that a professional athlete is so out of shape that he gets thrown out at second base after hitting a ball off the wall down the 3rd base line like McCann did last night… What a joke.

Why?

August 8th, 2012
12:33 pm

@dixie brave …….Agree! This will be the one and only time that Bourn can decide where to play.

Chipper Why(Have you been so good)

August 8th, 2012
12:36 pm

C,

Because a team like the Angels has the money to make him an offer that Boras will accept.

It does not matter what Bourn wants in this. He is a client of Scott Boras. Scott Boras does not let his clients sign extensions.

Tumbledown

August 8th, 2012
12:36 pm

Let’s just focus on this season. We have Bourn now and a chance to reach the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, maybe the Braves can forget about their playoff failures and go on a run. The Bourn situation can be addressed by all of us later.

C from Marietta

August 8th, 2012
12:36 pm

Trading Bourn now would be VERY stupid. Not sure about the logic about how it would be harder for a division rivial get him. If traded now. Can someone explain?

C from Marietta

August 8th, 2012
12:38 pm

@ Chipper

Bourn has already said time and time again. He will be a free agent after this season. Still not sure, how trading him will make it harder for the Phillies and Nats to get him. Maybe, your thinking is he moves to California and likes it enough to stay there?