Michael Bourn is the top free agent outfielder in the National League. He is drawing interest from just about everywhere, especially the National League East says Jon Heyman of CBS Sport. The Phillies, the Nationals, and the Braves are all interested in the center fielder's services.
The Phillies struggled through injuries last season and finished just 81-81. They also lost outfielder Juan Pierre, a former center fielder himself. They may have been able to compete more throughout the season had they had more production and less injuries from their outfield positions. The Atlanta Braves, of course, know what Bourn can do. They would love to re-sign him, but they won't break the bank to do so. The Washington Nationals are an interesting contender. They have Bryce Harper in center, but they've been using Michael Morse in right field. Morse could shift back to first base is Adam laRoche ends up signing elsewhere, leaving the Nats in need of an outfielder. And Morse has an injury history. It's difficult to count on him playing in more than 140 games per season.
The reasons above are indicative of a heated battle for Bourn, but we are limited in this piece to discussing the National League East. There will be other teams outside the division who show interest.
Bourn is your prototypical leadoff hitter. He stole 32 bases last season while hitting .274/.348/.391. He does all this while playing fantastic defense in center field. Bourn made a little over $6.8 million last season. He is due for a hefty raise in free agency, but how much that raise will be is not certain. Teams could easily go into the double-digits per season in a deal for Bourn. And the money could be worth it.
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