About a month ago I wrote about the Phillies possibly pursuing soon-to-be free agent outfielder Michael Bourn this past offseason. Both Bob Brookover and Matt Gelb started mentioning that Bourn might be a good fit with the Phillies once again next year, as the team really could use a leadoff hitter, the speed, and defense that Bourn could bring to the team.
Today, in the midst of a Phillies-Braves matchup, there were more whispers that the Phillies and Bourn might be a match.
Bob Brookover, perhaps Bourn's biggest advocate to come back to Philadelphia, made a Bourn-Phillies reunion the center of his column. He lays out Bourn's merits:
His defensive brilliance was on display in the fourth inning Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park when the Phillies' Kevin Frandsen launched a fly ball to the deepest part of center field. Bourn tracked the ball and made the catch look routine before crashing into the unpadded part of the fence in front of the shrubbery.
The two-time all-star and two-time Gold Glove winner also has had an impact on the Braves' offense.
A year ago, Atlanta ranked 13th in the league in team batting average, 14th in on-base percentage, and 10th in runs scored. This year, they are eighth in team average, tied for third in on-base percentage, and third in runs scored.
Buster Olney names the Phillies and the Nationals as two teams that might go after Bourn this offseason. After pointing out the Nationals' need for a centerfielder, he notes
...another rival official noted all the money that the Phillies have freed from their payroll, with the trades of Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, and Joe Blanton. "You know who they want, right?" the official asked. "They love Michael Bourn."
Bourn is not without his risks, and Brookover quotes a scout who lays them out very clearly:
"He strikes out a lot and doesn't have a great on-base percentage," the scout said. "He's going to be 30 years old, and guys his age do not get faster. I'd be careful."
But Mark Bradley, picking up on these two stories for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is fearful they will be losing a great player. He points out that Bourn is listed as having a WAR of 4.6, one of the highest in baseball.
The Phillies hope to make a splash in free agency, since they have little to trade and have few to none major league-ready players in their farm system. They have money cleared, and center field and third base are where they have the needs. Bourn is a known commodity and he has many friends on the Phillies who could lure him here.
Should be a fun offseason.