Michael Bourn

Picked up in what was generally considered a heist on the Braves’ part, Bourn was… okay in 52 games with the Braves. He hit .278/.321/.352 (actually pretty close to his career line), played good defense, and stole 22 bases in 29 attempts. (He led the league in SB… and in CS.) What he mostly did was fill a gaping hole that the Braves’ centerfield situation had been since Andruw Jones departed.

There are those who think that Bourn was helped a lot by his old ballpark, that away from Houston he’s not the same player. I don’t really see it. He’s a slap hitter who hits two homers a year, not the type of player who’s likely to be helped much by a bandbox. He would be helped a lot by a big park with Astroturf, but barring a time machine he’s not going to find one of those. A free agent after the season, and the Braves don’t seem particularly interested in re-signing him. I think that is a mistake, considering the gushing wound the team had for three and a half seasons in centerfield before the trade. On the other hand, people still overvalue speed on offense and that might drive up Bourn’s price above his value.

Michael Bourn Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com.

86 thoughts on “Michael Bourn”

  1. Hopefully Bourne can up the OBP, cause with his speed, he can usually score. 1-0 first inning leads are always helpful.

    Mac, I liked the write up for Prado.

    I don’t think Wren ever really wanted to move him, but Huddy’s back and Hanson’s shoulder made Prado the most moveable piece.

    I do think Wren wanted to move Jurrgens, but with Huddy’s back situation and Hanson’s iffy shoulder he was kind of forced to keep him.

    Thoughts?

  2. It might be a lack of interest by both parties. Bourn’s agent probably overvalues him as well. Hence the alleged efforts to obtain a CF or a CF prospect over the off season. I am just happy that for at least one more season we’ll have a CF that can field the position and not suck offensively. Man did we all get spoiled by having Andruw out there all those years.

  3. @1 – I am not sure what Hudson/Hansons injuries had to do with Prado’s tradeability. A good hitting 2b that can play 3 positions is a good trading chip, even if he is coming off a down year. If Wren thought he could get a power hitting OFer, or a decent SS, or a CF prospect then in theory the team is improved. What probably found was that the down year had lowered Prado’s value to the point that the team was better off with him, in the hope that he returns to form, than what was being offered.

  4. Whether or not speed is overvalued, if you are going to use it, you need to use it right. There were too many times last year, with Bourn on first, that Fredi either bunted him over to second or kept him on first and let Prado swing away without Bourn even trying to steal. What’s the point of having a base stealer if you aren’t going to let him steal bases?

  5. You’re probably right about the splits not being predictive, and from the very small sample you’re dead on about the Astroturf. (He’s murdered in his limited time in the Metrodome and Rogers Center.)

  6. Boras has mentioned that Bourn should be worth $10+ for 5/6 years. He wont be a Brave next season if thats the case.

  7. What’s the new rule for compensation picks for losing a free agent? And if Bourn has a good year, would we get any picks for his signing with a new team?

  8. You get a comp pick if you offer a 12mill/1year contract or greater and it’s declined, right? I would think Bourn would at least be tempted by such an offer, since that’s more annual value than he’d get in a long term deal, plus he’s pretty young so he should still be able to get a longterm deal after playing out the one year.

  9. With no CF options and money coming off the books, the Braves could afford to take that chance. I cant believe that I actually think the Braves can afford something.

  10. Let’s wait and see if Bourn fails to suck in 2012 before we offer him a $12 mil contract for 2013.

  11. I’d particularly hesitate to dump $12 mil into Bourn in a year where Josh Hamilton is a free agent.

    I’d totally go for Hamilton + Constanza in that case.

  12. Oh yeah. “Georgie, go catch the ball while Hamilton and Heyward mash.” Definitely how to spend the cash on that one.

  13. That’s a tough one. Having Hamilton around would be great, but I’d have to watch Constanza on a nightly basis which might kill me. At least if he’s in CF, there’s no risk of his taking the RF job again. Maybe the grounds crew could start firming up the dirt in front of home plate to make his chops more effective.

  14. Personally, I think an outfield of Constanza, Panamaniac, and Bourn would be a delight. They could play leapfrog to the ball and still get there faster than Garret Anderson circa ’09.

  15. Speaking of the Rangers, anyone think they might have interest in Jurrjens?

    I can imagine a scenario where they don’t land Darvish (deadline is 5PM today) and instead throw that money at Fielder. Perhaps they might want to go a cheaper route for a starting pitcher? And perhaps, with their home ballpark, a guy with groundball tendencies would be a good fit?

    And maybe, with the addition of Fielder, they might have one-too-many corner/DH types. Perhaps one who could play some LF?

  16. Josh Hamilton on the Braves? Be still my beating heart.

    Yeah, and shortly after that happens, I’ll be bedding down with Angelina Jolie.

  17. Step 1: Liberty Media sells in 2012
    Step 2: New ownership locks in new TV deal in 2013
    Step 3: PROFIT! (*)

    (*) Wherein profit means OF corners of Hamilton and Heyward, or the Jayson & Josh in the Morning (your new drive time gold!)

  18. They could also explode the entire world (and kick Mac in the teeth) by signing the year’s prime free agent CF option – Shane Victorino.

  19. Well, from the Braves’ perspective, they’d only be kicking Mark in the teeth.

    Hamilton’s a lefty. Do not want.

  20. I’d love to be able to root for Victorino. He would be one of my very favorite players, if not for the laundry.

  21. Love the dreaming. When was the last time the Braves signed an impact FA? Oh thats right, Derrick Lowe! egads.

  22. @22 – yeah. Kinda like when you just knew Bobby Cox or Bill Curry was going to make a tactical move.

    Noooooooo!

  23. Derek Lowe is, somewhat fairly, a punchline at this point. Be that as it may, it is nonetheless the case that as recently as 2009 the Atlanta Braves filled a gap in their major league roster by acquiring a star-level free agent from that year’s market.

    So, yeah, Derek Lowe’s contract is now an albatross. But it’s also a testament that when they have the cash on hand, the Braves *will* spend on free agents still.

  24. Wait a minute, we still have people not named Fredi who view Constanza as anything more than a bench player?

    Things are worse than I thought.

  25. The question isn’t whether Constanza’s a starter, per se. The question is which OF would be better in TOTAL:

    Mediocre LF // Bourn (@12m) // Heyward

    vs

    Hamilton // Constanza // Heyward

    The question is if Hamliton+Constanza is better than OtherLF+Bourn.

  26. @25, Agree. You guys aren’t dreaming big enough.

    C McCann
    1B Freeman
    2B Uggla
    3B Prado
    SS Sigh…Pastornicky
    LF Terdoslavich
    CF Hamilton
    RF Heyward

  27. If Hamilton can carry CF defensively then I’m all in. (Though I suspect you’ll see Simmons in place of The Rev by that point.)

  28. “Bourn hit a respectable .278 with a .321 on-base percentage in 53 games with the Braves. The 22 stolen bases he recorded during this two-month stretch were more than any Atlanta player has combined to total over the past two seasons.”

    Eesh.

  29. @29 – eeshing about the stolen bases I take it? Cuz .278/.321 is positively Jonesian compared to what we had out there before.

  30. Yes. I looove me some vietnamese.

    /Conflict of interest – I really like the guy that runs Dai Loi a lot. But the food really is great.

  31. @24 – Yeah, could have been AJ Burnett. Lets hope that the Lowe experience doesn’t dissuade the team from making that FA acquisition that puts us in a competitve advantage.

    I like Vietnamese food too. Pho places are popping up everywhere around here.

  32. Why do the Braves always schedule an off day following the opening day of the season?

    What should Wren have done that offseason? The Braves rotation was JJ, Morton, Campillo, Reyes, and James. The FA’s were Perez, Burnett, and Lowe. The big trade was to go after Peavy, glad Wren didnt overpay there. Lowe wasnt a bad signing, it was a necessity. KK was a worse deal IMO.

  33. Just listened to Jeff Schultz from the AJC on a local radio show. Takeaways..(fluff pieces)

    1. The Braves really feel like JJ is a cy young caliber pitcher. Schultz referred to his first half era to back up his point. He said JJ was the best starter in the majors until his injury.

    2. The Braves still feel like the collapse is due to losing JJ and Hanson down the stretch. Im surprised no one talks about how good Delgado and Minor did for the Braves and that its just overlooked to prove their reasoning.

    3. He honestly doesnt know the name of the new Braves hitting coach. He actually said “I cant remember his name.”

    4. The Braves feel that Pastornicky is going to upgrade the offense. Talks about his speed and bat control.

  34. I agree with you. At the time of the signing it was a necessity. That it turned out less than optimal isn’t up for argument either IMO. I am just saying that I hope it doesn’t make the Braves gun shy about trying the FA market if the circumstances warrant it.

  35. @38

    To be fair, the FA market for starters that year was not limited to Lowe, Burnett & Perez.

    One Carsten Charles Sabathia was a FA as well as Randy Wolf, just to name a couple.

    Say what you will about hindsight and the reality of payroll, but the opportunity to improve the staff was there.

  36. Don’t listen to anything any AJC columnist says except for DOB’s beat writing.

    Your autocorrect seems to have changed “especially”

  37. What was the posting fee? $52mil?

    So they have $110+mil tied up for 6 years into a pitcher that hasnt thrown a pitch in MLB. Unreal

  38. Are there even any teams left that might need a starter? It sickens me a bit knowing that we are going to have 9 pitchers capable of starting in 2012 and will have the same handicapped stricken OF if Chipper goes down for any significant time. Is there anyone else that is bothered by this?

  39. 4. The Braves feel that Pastornicky is going to upgrade the offense. Talks about his speed and bat control.

    I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but this sort of suggests to me that Fredi is already falling in love with Pastornicky in the 2-hole bunting Bourn over.

  40. I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but this sort of suggests to me that Fredi is already falling in love with Pastornicky in the 2-hole bunting Bourn over.

    Better than Prado bunting Bourn over?

  41. I’m watching the Moneyball special features, and the guy who played David Justice (Stephen Bishop) was actually a baseball player and played with the Braves while David was there.

  42. Coincidentally, the SO rented Moneyball a couple of nights ago. I hadn’t seen it before, nor read the book. Like sansho, I found the dramatic elements a bit too contrived for my tastes, but perhaps a second viewing is in order.

  43. @39

    And none of that even speaks to Schultz’s horrific understanding of basketball. The man is truly dim.

  44. I enjoyed it. Haven’t read the book and would have liked to see some more geeky stuff in there, but I still thought it was great. It looks reeeaaal nice in HD.

  45. Signing Lowe was in line, I think, with Liberty’s basic philosophy, which is to spend enough money to keep the Braves reasonably competitive so that attendence and TV ratings don’t completely tank. As people pointed out, the incumbent rotation was so pathetic that they had to do something after a 72-90 season. In that context, Lowe was a reasonable signing, IMO, but says nothing about the likelihood of the Braves going after significant free agents now that the team has a decent talent base. IMO, they wouldn’t even think about Josh Hamilton who, in fairness, is somewhat of an injury risk. As long as the team is an 85-89 win-type team that won’t embarrass itself, I don’t think Liberty has any intention of spending money on free agents. But it’s fun to dream. John Malone doesn’t fantasize about World Series banners.

  46. Bold prediction for 2012: Liberty Media will sell the Braves by 2015. It was nothing but a tax shelter for them to begin with and in terms of an ongoing investment for a company of that size, it is so far outside of their portfolio that it doesn’t make business sense to continue. They will probably make a tidy profit on the sale as well.

    A man can dream.

  47. @62,

    I don’t understand your point. I’m not saying Malone is out to “get” the Braves, just that he doesn’t care. And I’m not saying that there is some nefarious plot by Liberty to keep the Braves out of the playoffs, just that it does not consider the Braves a strategic asset and have no interest in increasing the payroll beyond the minimum necessary to stay within a certain range of wins. If things break right and the Braves win the World Series, I’m sure Liberty would be pleased.

  48. Is it possible that Hawks fans got a break when the Thrashers were sold and the sale of the team fell through?

    The product ain’t bad and the game night entertainment is usually pretty creative and compelling.

    Dare I say it: could it be that The Spirit Group could turn out to be good stewards of their NBA franchise?

    Nah.

  49. I may be alone but I don’t hate Liberty Media. In my mind they have done the fan base a great service by letting the baseball professionals run the baseball team. Would it have been nice to have an extra 7 million for 3 years to get Josh Willingham? Sure. But after seeing what Dodgers, Mets, Padres, Orioles to name few have gone through with their incompetent, greedy owners I appreciate the stability afforded by the salutary neglect from Liberty Media. The Braves are at least in the discussion for contention every year. Not a lot of teams can say that.

  50. Boston friend says local radio is reporting that the Red Sox have interest in Jurrjens. I’d love to see Kalish in a Brave jersey, but obviously acquiring just Kalish would be unwise. Don’t really see a match.

  51. @65

    I guess my point is that you’re creating a convoluted narrative of what-ifs rather than simply addressing the what-is. Liberty has shown that they will maintain a major league payroll for the Braves somewhere between 87-95 million dollars, per year. You are adding in an additional math – maintaining a “win total” to compete just enough to maintain competitiveness – that is outside of the bounds of reason, IMHO. I think it’s far simpler to assume that the Braves have a payroll of 87-95 million per year, period, than to create a complex series of mechanisms where Liberty is paying an evil sabermetrician an annual salary to compute win values based on how good the cheap players project to be.

  52. Ok, Sam, I concede your point but all I was trying to say was that, IMO, the signing of Lowe was an outlier that doesn’t have much relevance for the possibility of signing Josh Hamilton. I suppose that’s a better way of making my point than my previous convoluted argument.

  53. In totally unrelated news, I’m off to my glamorous new job: bartending for Miami Heat fans.

  54. Apparently, Fausto Carmona was not only not born in Van Nuys, he really wasn’t born anywhere.

  55. I expect the payroll to hover around $90 mil going forward. When Chipper retires and Lowe’s final salary comes off the books next year, the Braves will spend that money on other players. Some of it will likely go to a McCann extension, but I fully expect them to look for Chipper replacement on the market (probably as a LFer, moving Prado back to 3B.)

  56. @70

    I find the nickname “Chargers” offensive since it so vividly brings to mind underachievement and rewarded mediocrity. Really sets those kids up to fail.

  57. Sweet, the Braves caravan stop in Chattanooga (at the Taco Mac) includes Heyward and Freeman. We normally get the no names.

  58. To add insult to injury, the school has also cancelled “Everyone Gets To F*ck Demi Moore” Day as well.

  59. I think the lack of interest in a long-term deal has little to do with Bourn’s specific skillset and a lot to do with the overall team philosophy. These days, the Braves just really don’t like doing business by signing regulars. They’ll sign part-time/role players, and they’ll trade for regulars, but they seem to have decided that signing free agents (or near-FAs like Bourn) to long-term deals usually doesn’t work out for the team.

  60. @80

    The Braves have slots four four (4) major contracts. They currently use those slots for two (2) pitchers (Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe) and two (2) every day players (Chipper Jones, Dan Uggla.) The rest of the team they put together with mid-market or under-market value contracts (Brian McCann, Nate McLouth) and arb/pre-arb development players (Prado, Bourn, Heyward, Freeman, etc.)

    They have played the last three seasons, since 2009, at “max contract” with those four “big deal” players. In 2013 Chipper and Lowe fall off the books. McCann will role into one of the major spend deals, I suspect, but that leaves one max contract slot open for them to look at the market (i.e. Josh Hamilton, though Hamilton may command $20+ mil per and price himself out of the Braves’ range.)

    In addition, the Braves currently have the luxury of a massive glut of stellar pitching prospects, which means when Hudson’s contract comes up they can cut him loose and replace him with Hanson, moving Teheran or Vizcaino up the chain.

    This is how the team payroll is structured. Four major dollar commitments – none of them in the superstar $25-30 mil range – and then fill the rest in by trade or development.

  61. Desert, I was very struck by the book “There Is No Me Without You,” by an Atlanta author named Melissa Fay Greene, and it’s about the complicated life of a woman who operates an abortion home for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. Greene is the brilliant writer behind “Praying for Sheetrock” and “The Temple Bombing,” and the process of writing There Is No Me Without You led Greene to adopt a number of babies from Africa… which made her household a great deal bigger, leading to her latest (which I haven’t read), “No Biking in the House WIthout a Helmet.”

  62. @81 Good take. I think that’s a useful model to use in looking at potential team make-up going forward.

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