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The addition of Michael Bourn was a masterful move for the Braves

Jul 31, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT

Michael Bourn Getty Images

Adding Michael Bourn is not going to make the Braves make up five games on the Phillies, but it was a masterful move all the same.  Simply a great trade for Atlanta any way you look at it.

First Bourn:  he’s an elite center fielder, obviously.  You can look at the gold gloves if you want to, though I don’t advise it.  Look instead at the advanced defensive metrics which suggest that he’s easily the best defensive center fielder in the National League and, short of Franklin Gutierrez, probably the best in baseball.  He is also an elite base runner, successful in 83% of his stolen base attempts in his career.

That glove and those legs have allowed him to more than make up for a fair-at-best bat these past few years, but this season has been an offensive breakthrough for him, as he’s hitting .303/.363/.403.  His on base percentage is up, mostly because he has been a bit hit-lucky this year, but his power numbers are interesting. He has never been a home run hitter and still isn’t, but he already has more doubles and triples this season than he had all of last year.

So, acquiring Bourn is clearly a great move for Atlanta, who was in desperate need of an outfielder, especially a center fielder.  What’s crazy though is just how great a deal they got for him.

While I have seen some commentary this morning about how the Braves are “high on Jordan Schafer,” I think the best way to take that is that they’re high on him in much the same way you might get high on a hallucinatory drug.  He is clearly overmatched by major league pitching and has shown no real progress in that regard over the past few years.  None of the prospects involved — Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu — are top tier guys.  And the fact that the Astros are sending the Braves money in this deal is borderline criminal.

When I saw the good deal that the Phillies got for Hunter Pence — likewise not having to give up their best prospects — I sighed “well, there goes Ed Wade, playing favorites with his old employer again.”  Guess Wade decided to share the wealth with the Braves as well.

  1. sdelmonte - Jul 31, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    I just feel bad for Astros fans right now. The future might be brighter but the present seems worth skipping. Time to see what the Texans are doing, I am afraid.

    • halladaysbiceps - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      Well, with talks now that they Yankees have interest in Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers may be shipped today as well, I’m not sure that the Astros will be able to field a team for this year at the rate Wade is going.

      The only solace I can give to Astros fans is that Ed Wade will be fired after the season, but he will leave you a minor league system that will have the greatest depth that it has had in years.

  2. purnellmeagrejr - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    Craig wanted to call him a “lock down center fielder.”

  3. ss - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Craig, I don’t see how Cosart and Singleton aren’t the Phillies top prospects. Sickels had them at 2 and 4 in their system, and Dom Brown isn’t a “prospect” anymore. The Phils gave up 2 of their top 3 guys, easily.

    Still, this was a fleecing by the Braves. They gave up no one of real consequence for a guy who’s probably worth 2 wins the rest of the way and is under team control for 2012. No-brainer trade.

  4. trevorb06 - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    At least Wade didn’t pull a Bill Smith and trade him for a relief pitcher. Honestly, if the Twins do that deal and trade Span essentially for a reliever I’m rooting for the Indians for a few years. If the Twins trade Span for a reliever and some damn good prospect I’ll be happy but we all know that won’t happen.

    Good job Braves, now why can’t Ed Wade have a chat with Rizzo about how to get screwed. :-)

  5. aclassyguyfromaclassytown - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    I think you might be giving him and the braves a little more credit than they both deserve on this one. He’s a good player and all, but “elite”? I don’t know about that. And to call the move by the Braves “masterful”, well I think your home team bias might have gotten away with you there. It was a good pick up, but it’s not really a move that would or should be majorly talked about nationally. I’m not saying it’s wrong for you to note the acquisitoon in your blog, I really apreciate you guys keeping me informed about all of the recent player and team news. All I’m saying is that all this praising seems a tad excessive.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      I praised him as “elite” as a center fielder. Is he Albert Pujols? Of course not. But he is an elite center fielder.

      As for this not being a move to talk about beyond provincial fandom considerations, you should hop on Twitter and check some of the national writers’ reactions. They all consider this an excellent move that could have real impact.

      • Old Gator - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:14 AM

        But does he bring….veteran leadership?

      • aclassyguyfromaclassytown - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:49 AM

        Twitter will make noise on any player move. It’s more of a question of will ESPN stop in the middle of a game to bring you breaking news that this move has just happened. You gotta agree though, “Masterful”? Really? I don’t want you to take this as me giving you criticism as a writer, becaue I love reading HBT and I get a lot of info from you guys and I truely think you’re really good at what you do. I just think that in this situation, some of the praise is a little excessive is all. I can’t blame you though. If my team makes a good move, I tend to brag about it. I just think in this situation the Braves made a good move, not a masterful one. You can agree to that, right? I did like the fact that you agreed that the Phillies got Hunter Pence on a good deal, since some other people think the Phillies broke the bank to get him, when really they gave up enough to gt a quality player and not give up the whole farm to get him. Also, I like to jump on any chance I get to call you out for being biased on the Braves. I not-so-secretly hope it get’s under your skin. On that note, go Feeesh!

  6. schmedley69 - Jul 31, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    I’ve always liked Bourn. The guy can fly. There is no figuring out Ed Wade. The guy is one of the worst GM’s of all time. When he was the Phillies GM, his trade deadline deals in the years when the Phils were contending did more harm than good. Turk Wendell? Yikes! My dream is for Wade to somehow become the Yankees or Red Sox GM so that he can drag those teams into the cellar.

  7. legaleagle513 - Jul 31, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Is this the Braves official web site. Holy crap. You would think this writer is Bourne again.

    • JBerardi - Jul 31, 2011 at 3:47 PM

      As long as he’s avoiding “Bourne” puns…

  8. lotterbs72 - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Yikes, have the Astros gone MAD?
    They give away Pence and Bourne…who are they going to build there team around?

  9. Walk - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    From reading the stories the interest in bourn just wasnt there for ed wade to play teams against each other. Braves may have made a low ball offer and been surprised by the interest. Whatever happened looks like braves made a solid move. The only one i was sorry to see go was oberholtzer, couple years back he would have gotten quite a few starts at the back end of the rotation i think.

  10. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    For the Braves, this was a masterful move. I agree with Craig. Withou McCann, they needed something to make sure their offense didn’t drop into the realm of being absolutely putrid. There is no chance of them catching the Phillies, but this deal helps them keep their momentum in the Wild Card race. I will say that calling Michael Bourne an “elite center fielder” shows how putrid the position is filled right now. I’d still take Shane over Bourne any day.

  11. kingjoe1 - Jul 31, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Ok so if bourne is so darn good, why does Ed Wade get ripped all the time for terrible trades with the Phillies. Wade got Bourne for Lidge, who at the time wanted out, and wasnt adding much value to the club.

  12. Walk - Jul 31, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Bourne is good because of lack of speed in the braves lineup coupled with low cost of acquiring him and looks better when compared to what was out on the market that would have fit his new teams needs. Sorry massive run on sentence complete.

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