Greg Walker is getting a lot of credit for the Braves’ offensive turnaround, deservedly so. But Michael Bourn deserves more.
His .399 OBP is second among NL lead-off hitters, he’s tied for first in runs scored with Fukey and is on pace to steal more than 50 bases. Unfortunately, it looks as if this will be his last season as a Brave, though it doesn’t have to be.
The Braves have enough money coming off the books next year to keep Bourn. But what about B-Mac, a free agent after 2013?
McCann is due $12 mil next season, and while free agency will bring him more bucks I suspect $15 mil will be enough to retain him. So the difference isn’t that great.
Of course, that would necessitate parting ways with Tommy Hanson and JJ, but neither is looking like a long-term keeper.
Bourn is only 29 and continues to show improvement. And top-notch lead-off hitters are harder to come by. Maybe Matt Lipka develops into that guy but he’s at least two years away.
I suspect it would five years and $60 million to keep Bourn, a steep price but, based on what he’s done for the Braves offense, one I think would be worth paying. That’s roughly the same contract given Dan Uggla and, to me, Bourn is a more valuable asset, this year and beyond.