September 25, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Bourn (24) celebrates with champagne in the locker room after clinching a wild card playoff spot in the game against the Miami Marlins at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: David Goldman/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Ten Reasons Why Michael Bourn Should Sign With Atlanta

Two months ago when the Braves signed CF B.J. Upton, it seemed like everyone in Atlanta had made their peace with Michael Bourn‘s departure, and was ready to move on. But now, as we creep slowly towards the start of Spring Training, Bourn is still without a home, and little progress has been made. Early Sunday morning, Jim Bowden broke the news on Twitter that Frank Wren and his staff have not closed the door on the possibility of resigning Bourn, and immediately gave Braves country hope (probably false hope) that Bourn might consider taking a certain pay cut to return to Atlanta. So in an effort to show our 30 year-old outfielder why the grass isn’t always greener, here are the ten reasons why Michael Bourn should choose to remain in Atlanta for the 2013 season and beyond:

10. Three-headed Monster: If Bourn decides that he wants to return to the Braves outfield for 2013, he will be joining good company. With Jason Heyward and B.J. Upton already in place, Bourn would likely take over in left field and put the final touches on the fastest outfield any team has ever seen. But this speed won’t just look good on paper. Bourn will benefit greatly from moving to left field and not having to track down every ball he can possibly get to. At 30 years old, it’s no secret that Bourn’s speed will soon see a steady deterioration. On those days in mid-August when Bourn just doesn’t feel as quick as he once had, it will be a welcome sight to see B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward there to fill the gaps.

Sept. 17, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (center), left fielder Jose Constanza (left) and center fielder Michael Bourn (right) celebrate their 7-5 win over the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

9. Dominant Pitching Staff- We featured the Braves rotation a few weeks ago as one of Atlanta’s most prominent strengths coming into 2013, but with Bourn trying to make up his mind, we’d like to take it a step further. Of Atlanta’s projected starting five (Hudson, Medlen, Minor, Maholm, Delgado) only one has a higher career fly ball than ground ball ratio. As a whole throughout their careers, Atlanta’s five starters boast a ratio of just under 2:1 ground balls to fly balls put in play. In addition to inducing almost double the amount of ground balls as fly balls, the Braves rotation is also home to four of five starters with career k/9 ratios at or over 6. With a collective career ratio of 6.82 k/9, the Braves rotation does its part in keeping the ball out of the outfield as much as possible. Bourn will continue to benefit from the Atlanta’s ground ball minded rotation in 2013, ensuring that his legs stay fresh throughout the course of the season.

8. Peaceful Fan base- Bourn and his family will be at ease knowing that they won’t have to worry about the hostile fans that makeup the New York and Philly fan bases. Except for instances of apparent and outright stupidity (see Sam Holbrook, 2012 Wild Card game), the handful of fans that stagger to the Ted nightly are downright docile.

7 B.J. Upton- We mentioned B.J. Upton’s effect on Michael Bourn in the outfield, but it’s on the offensive side that Upton will help Bourn the most. Though both players have spent a similar amount of time in the MLB, Upton’s offensive production is slowly on the rise, while Bourn’s is slowly declining. Since 2009 Upton has enjoyed an increase or maintenance of his oWAR from the previous year and has seen a 3.0 or better rating in each of those years. Upton also holds a career oWAR of 19.0 in eight seasons, while Bourn’s 11.3 oWAR over seven seasons seems to have already peaked. Upton provides Atlanta’s lineup with both power and speed, giving Bourn the ability to serve as a role hitter in the leadoff spot rather than a true table setter.

6. Fredi Gonzalez- With 2013 marking the third year that Bourn and Gonzalez have been together, and the experience of the September collapse in 2011 and the Wild Card game in 2012, the relationship they share is invaluable. From communicating about days off or establishing defensive positioning during the transition to LF, Gonzalez and Bourn will have to work together more this season than any season in the past. Gonzalez and his staff know Bourn and his abilities, and can give Bourn the opportunity to avoid the moving pains of a new team and philosophy.

5. Face of the Franchise- It seems strange to picture Bourn as the face of the Atlanta Braves, but with Chipper gone, it’s anybody’s game. Sure Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman might have a leg up for the future of the franchise, but by taking a pay cut to return to Atlanta for a chance at the World Series, Bourn’s stock will soar in the eyes of Atlanta.

4. Atlanta Climate- Being from Texas, Bourn is familiar with the summer’s sweltering heat. What he’s not accustomed to is the unpredictable climate that most of the Northeast experiences. Imagine playing late into October and having to fight the rain or sleet during the NLCS. I’d rather enjoy the balmy fall of the South, but that’s just me.

3. Familiarity- It’s simple in that ballplayers play well in places where they are comfortable. For Bourn, nothing is more familiar than Turner Field and the NL East. With a .282 career average at the Ted and 378 career at bats against the NL East’s projected 2013 pitching staffs, Bourn will do himself a favor by staying put. Don’t forget, also, that Bourn has never taken an at bat in Oakland or Seattle, two of the Ranger’s biggest divisional rivals, and has never played a game against the Los Angeles Angels.

2.World Series Title- Bourn joins the long list of players on the Braves roster who have never experienced the thrill of a championship. By signing with Atlanta, Bourn fills the missing piece in Atlanta’s powerful lineup, and gives Braves fans real reason to believe that 2013 could be the year.

1. Career Earnings- With a career earnings total of $14,855,500 over just seven seasons, Michael Bourn has made more money than he could spend in an entire lifetime. I know I couldn’t spend it all. It might be out of character for a Boras client to take less than they “deserve,” but now is the time to set a new precedent. For Bourn, winning is more important than money. Coming back to Atlanta, Bourn will give the Braves a chance to be true contenders for the World Series, and in return Frank Wren can probably fork up a couple million dollars. That’s good enough for me.

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  • fireboss

    Well, where to begin.
    1) The door being open to a Bourn return doesn’t mean the Braves would actually seek it or offer the $13.3M he turned down. His uninjured
    .225/.325/.311 second half is part of the reason no one has jumped out
    there and given up the draft pick.

    2) If Bourn returns it will be on a one year pillow deal. He has as much chance of being the face of the Braves as I do. Prado, Freeman, Heyward and McCann are all in front of him.
    3) Bourn doesn’t think he has all the money he will ever need. Players hire Boras to get rich; rich begins with career earning over $100M. If he wanted a good contract he’d have taken a 3 @ 15 deal but he wants a BIG contract so any return to ATL is a pillow deal and a repeat walk year.
    4) Bourn is a better center fielder than Upton playing him in left is playing him out of position. His speed hasn’t gone yet and until it does he’s a CF for any team in their right mind.
    5) Our pitching staff is very good but I wouldn’t use the word dominant. The Nats, Giants, Dodgers Reds and Phillies have at least one and most would say two true ACEs on at the top. Medlen may become one this year but the staff going into spring lacks a true ACE. Besides while defensively

    6)Bourn does make the Braves outfield the best in the league it was the best defensive outfield last year with Prado in left. Chipper’s tutelage of Francisco last year improved his play at third significantly so I’m not positive there’s a huge advantage in having Prado at third instead. Bourn comes down to a question of ROI. If you believe the second half of last year was a fluke -he’s not going to repeat that vanishing act at the plate – and that you can get him at a good price in a pillow deal, he provides a superb leadoff man option.

    I don’t see a $13M upgrade in Bourn and I doubt Wren does either – not saying he wouldn’t do it for one year. It appears from interviews he has little more than $10M left in the kitty. Using all of it on anything but a superstar like the younger Upton would leave us about broke at the deadline should a need arise. The qualifying offer was designed to get the draft pick compensation but in a budget like Atlanta’s the ROI needs to be there particularly after the B J Upton overpay. Prado gets on base as well or better and while he doesn’t steal bases Bourn didn’t exactly terrorize the league last year either. Simmons may well prove to be a top of the order bat in any event and he has the speed to steal enough to be a threat.

  • dawgy

    Please sign bourne, but pleeeeaaasssseee get costanza to the majors and KEEP HIM!!!!!!!!!!!! Dude is .360 in winter ball, and you all have seen him play the last 2 years. Can someone please explain the problem?

    • fireboss

      Chances of Bourn returning are slim to none and Slim left town. Winter ball is about AA ball sometimes lower but Constanza will get preference because he’s been good recently. Schafer will get a chance but probably has to be a lot better to stick. Braves may go with Prado and Francisco using Johnson against lefties. Constanza has no power makes him a luxury in the NL. I like Georgie I just don’t know if we can afford to carry a low production bench bat. bench hurt us last year and needs to be better. Gattis and Mejai may be options there.