HOUSTON: Center fielder Michael Bourn #21 of the Houston Astros can't come up with the catch on a dropping line drive off the bat of Garrett Jones #46 in the sixth inning scoring Andrew McCutchen from second base at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Atlanta Braves Acquire Michael Bourn From Houston Astros

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Michael Bourn Trade Return Looks Unimpressive For Astros

In Michael Bourn, the Astros entered Sunday's deadline day in possession of perhaps the most desirable outfielder left on the market. Bourn's a good defensive center fielder who runs like hell and who's under team control through the end of 2012, meaning he's not just a rental.

Yet when the Astros dealt Bourn to the Braves, they failed to bring back much of a package. They received Jordan Schafer, Paul Clemens, Brett Oberholtzer and Juan Abreu, but none of those guys are top young talents.

Schafer's a 24-year-old outfielder with more than 400 plate appearances of major league experience, with a .613 OPS to show for them. His OPS in triple-A is an unthinkable .575. He was once considered a top prospect, but his stock has cratered over the past two years.

Clemens is a 23-year-old righty starter who's spent the year with double-A Mississippi. His performance has been fine, but not in any way exceptional, and he profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter if he doesn't end up in the bullpen.

Oberholtzer's a 22-year-old lefty starter who's been with that same Mississippi team. He's a command-first guy with a decent but limited repertoire, and his ceiling is low. He's also looking at a future in the back of a rotation.

And finally, Abreu's a 26-year-old righty reliever with 68 strikeouts in 48 innings with triple-A Gwinnett. He has big strikeouts and a big fastball, but he struggles to locate and is far from a guarantee to throw strikes in the majors.

The Astros got some players who could help eventually, and that's fine - it's not like Bourn is a top-five value. But the players they got are limited, and the Braves have to be ecstatic that they added their outfielder without having to sacrifice any of their most highly-prized young pitching.


Michael Bourn Traded To Braves For Four Players

The Atlanta Braves, whose outfield has been decimated by injuries to Jordan Schafer and Nate McLouth, have acquired center fielder Michael Bourn from the Houston Astros.

The Braves will send four players to Houston, according to Houston beat writer Alyson Footer:

The Astros traded Michael Bourn to the Braves in exchange for OF Jordan Schafer, LHP Brett Oberholtzer, RHP Paul Clemens and RHP Juan Abreu.

and, according to national baseball writer Ken Davidoff, the Braves get something else:

The #Braves will be receiving money from the #Astros in the Michael Bourn trade.

Bourn may be the fastest regular player in the National League, and his 39 stolen bases lead all major leaguers. In fact, Bourn's stolen more bases than three teams (Cardinals, Cubs and Tigers) this season; Atlanta has just 42 steals. Bourn has won Gold Gloves in each of the last two seasons.

This deal appears to be a big win for Atlanta, and continues the retooling of the Houston roster after their trade sending Hunter Pence to the Phillies on Friday.

According to Richard Justice, Schafer will come off the Disabled List on August 11 and immediately become the Astros' every-day center fielder. None of the other prospects acquired by Houston figure to contribute immediately, but all three pitchers are considered legitimate prospects.


MLB Trade Rumors: Astros' Michael Bourn Might Get Moved

With Hunter Pence dispatched by the Astros, is center fielder Michael Bourn next?

First, Jerry Crasnick:

#Astros efforts to move Michael Bourn are picking up steam, source says. Appears more likely he'll move by deadline. #tradesless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply


Do you know anyone who could use a Gold Glove-quality center fielder with great wheels and a fine on-base percentage?



The Reds reportedly are interested in Bourn, too ... though it's hard to figure what they would do with Drew Stubbs, if Bourn came aboard. Granted, he strikes out too often and doesn't get on base quite as often as Bourn. But he's younger, and too good to just get benched.

The most interesting thing about all of this is that Michael Bourn is a better player than Hunter Pence.

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