The contending Atlanta Braves, pushing up against the non-waiver trade deadline Sunday night, have gotten their man. Astros centerfielder Michael Bourn was not their man man — Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence wound up elsewhere with National League pennant-chasers — but he plays a position beset by inconsistency and injuries. He fills a desperate need. And he did not cost the pitching-conscious Braves any of their young arms.
Atlanta sent Houston, the league’s worst team that is shedding players like a dog does fleas, Jordan Schafer, along with three disposable pitching prospects. Only the ‘stros would take a guy on the disabled list, but they are going nowhere but home in October.
Schafer has company on the D.L. with the Braves’ Nate McLouth. Both play centerfield; hence, the need for Bourn. Neither plays it as good as the new guy, who is batting .303.
Better yet, Bourn tops the major leagues with 39 stolen bases. Joining a team ranked 26th in steals and 28th in percentage of successful attempts, Bourn could get a bright green light almost every time he reaches base.
Improving the lineup was a mandate for general manager Frank Wren. He might have gotten an A-level player by parting with Mike Minor or a gifted pitching prospect. But, feeling that you cannot have too many arms, he hung onto all of them and paid a modest price to a seller’s market team for a B-level guy.