Amid all the trade talk surrounding the Atlanta Braves pursuit of Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton, another name has surfaced to fill the left field vacancy -- a more familiar name. Michael Bourn is still a free agent, and according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, Atlanta might have a good shot at getting him back. Some quotes from his article:
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, coach Terry Pendleton and a Brave star or two are believed to have reached out to Bourn, who was an extremely popular Braves player among the uniformed personnel. [...]
The Braves' front office also very much likes the Uptons though, and the Braves have made an offer for Justin Upton that the Diamondbacks are said to be weighing only a couple months after signing older brother B.J. Upton.
We have seen this supposed split between what the front office and Frank Wren wants and what the coaches and Fredi Gonzalez wants before. Most notably this divide was evident at the end of spring training last year, with Wren preferring to start shortstop Tyler Pastornicky, and Gonzalez preferring to go with Andrelton Simmons. In just about all of these reported disputes the front office has had their way.
Heyman lists several other teams that he thinks have interest in Bourn. Chiefly among them, the Mets, but also the Rangers, Mariners, Orioles, Cubs, Rays, and Dodgers. Most of this "interest" seems to be "assumption of interest" more than an actual conversation with Bourn or his agent.
But if Gonzalez, Pendleton, and some players have reached out to Bourn that means they want him back, and if no one else is calling, then it may make Bourn lower his contract demands. Reading between the lines though, it looks like Bourn is probably a fall-back player should the Braves front office be unable to acquire Justin Upton from the D-Backs. That clearly seems to be Frank Wren's first choice (and I can't blame him).
But more teams entering into the Bourn sweepstakes means that the Braves probably don't want to wait too long to make a decision on either J-Up or Bourn. This could be another factor pushing the arbitrary Friday deadline for any potential J-Up trade deal. The Braves are also operating from a position of strength here, knowing that the Diamondbacks trade partners are limited, and that Atlanta could choose to go with Bourn if Arizona says no on J-Up.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Jon Heyman has, in the past, been a mouthpiece for Scott Boras misinformation or propaganda -- Boras is Bourn's agent. So by providing this list of EIGHT teams, when no other writer has reported anything more than tepid interest in Bourn certainly smacks of media manipulation.
This is becoming a good game of chess, with multiple pieces in motion on the board.