Why Braves Would Be Better Off Dealing Michael Bourn

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIAugust 27, 2012

Michael Bourn is a free agent at the end of the year, and it will be hard for the Braves to re-sign him.
Michael Bourn is a free agent at the end of the year, and it will be hard for the Braves to re-sign him.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves would be better off dealing Michael Bourn now, instead of waiting until he leaves in the offseason.

So, before Braves fans jump all over me and tell me how they're still in the middle of the playoff race, hear me out.

Bourn is a free agent at the end of the year, and it's going to be tough to re-sign him.

Consider that he's also a client of Scott Boras, and he will be hard to re-sign due to that fact. After all, Boras seems to get teams to pay more for a player than they are worth.

So, what does that have to do with this season? After all, Bourn is helping the Braves during their playoff run this year.

Like many Braves fans, I feel Bourn brings a lot to the top of the lineup for the team. But lately he's been lacking a little.

Through Sunday, Bourn is 24-for-92 in August with nine stolen bases and 15 runs scored.

Then there's Reed Johnson, who is 13-for-44 in August. However, he hasn't stolen any bases and has only scored one run.

While there would be some drop-off in the stolen base department, there's still a higher on-base percentage with Johnson (.360) than with Bourn (.354).

If Bourn were to be traded, Johnson could easily be moved into the leadoff spot and take over right field while Jason Heyward would then patrol center.

As a Braves fan, my main reasoning for thinking it would be better for Bourn to go ahead and leave is simple: It will soften the blow of losing him in the offseason.

Liberty Media, which owns the Braves, has been known for be tight in the wallet. There's no reason to believe they will open up their wallets any more, even with Chipper Jones retiring.

Tommy Hanson, Jason Heyward and Martin Prado are due big raises during arbitration. Kris Medlen, Cristhian Martinez, Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty are also arbitration eligible.

Then there's Tim Hudson's option worth $9 million and the possible re-signing of Brian McCann to a huge extension before he becomes a free agent after the 2013 season.

So, the offseason is huge in terms of money being doled out. While an offer may be extended to Bourn, teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies will also be in the running, and they all have a lot more money to spend.

If I was a betting man, I'm thinking the Red Sox and their recent housecleaning are going to throw $15 million or more per season at Bourn. Boston may be the team everyone hates this offseason with all of the money they're going to spend.

For a trade involving Bourn to go through, a lot would have to happen. Mainly, the right team would have to claim him off waivers and the "right" trade would have to happen.

However, as we saw with the Red Sox, any player can be traded at any time. Of course, the Red Sox are in a little bit of a different situation than the Braves.

Is it likely to happen? Probably not. But could it happen?

This is baseball, and anything is possible.