For what seems like the entirety of the MLB offseason, the Atlanta Braves have been rumored in trying to trade Jair Jurrjens and/or Martin Prado. Teams such as the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds have been more of the dominant rumored teams that the Braves were currently “in discussions.” Both Jurrjens and Prado are extremely attractive pieces, and both have a high price tag.
One thing that has come out in these rumors is the Braves’ insistence to acquire a center field prospect in return for any one of these two players. The reason behind acquiring the center field prospect has been stated as a precautionary measure in case the team cannot resign current center fielder, Michael Bourn.
Bourn was acquired from the Houston Astros at this past season’s trade deadline. He is the type of player that teams look for in a leadoff hitter: great speed, high OBP, high contact guy. He is the type of leadoff hitter that the Braves have not had since Rafael Furcal was with the team.
Bourn has steadily improved as a hitter over the past four seasons. He had career highs batting average (.294), slugging percentage (.386) and stolen bases (61 actually tied his career high) this past season and missed tying his career high in OBP by .006. Bourn is the type of player that Fredi Gonzalez and Frank Wren seemingly love.
What I question, though, is whether the Braves are interested in trying to sign Bourn after this upcoming season at all. If they were, they wouldn’t be trying to pry a center field prospect away from a number of teams.
The reason why they are reluctant, I am certain, is the fact that Bourn is represented by Scott Boras. Boras is, in most people’s eyes, a conniving, blood-sucking scoundrel that will squeeze every penny out of your pocket while doing business with you. The Braves will pay Derek Lowe $10 million this season to play for the Cleveland Indians. He is one of Boras’ players that got a nice pay day from the Braves.
Boras will try to get as much money for Michael Bourn as he can. That is his job. The Braves have a much smaller pocket book than other teams and they seem to want to work with Boras as little as possible.
I can’t blame them for trying to have a back-up plan in the event that they do not re-sign Bourn. However, my question is whether they are interested at all. I don’t think they are.