Per MLB.com’s Bill Madson, the Nationals are scouting center fielders and are willing to overpay in a trade. So it should come as no surprise to learn that the Nationals asked the Astros about the availability of center fielder and leadoff man Michael Bourn.
Bourn is likely to be one of the hottest names as we approach baseball’s trade deadline. Chris Cwik at Fangraphs takes a look at what exactly the Astros could reasonably expect for Bourn:
Eric Seidman wrote up a fantastic piece on Bourn, 28, last week, in which he explained how Bourn has been so valuable the past two seasons. Since much of Bourn’s value is tied up in his excellent defense, it’s tough to project how valuable he will be going forward. The team that acquires Bourn, however, can focus on the short term as Bourn is eligible for arbitration at the conclusion of the season. At this point in time, we have no reason to expect a sudden decline in Bourn’s defense, making him a valuable acquisition for a contender.
Due to the uncertainty surround Grady Sizemore, Bourn is an ideal fit for Cleveland. Sizemore has already spent time on the DL this season, and he’ll probably have to be rested often if the Indians hope to keep him healthy. On top of that, it’s highly unlikely Sizemore will return to his excellent defensive ways in center following such a devastating knee injury. Not only is Sizemore capable of playing a corner spot, but allowing Bourn to play center immediately increases the Indians’ team defense.
That seems like an awkward fit, mainly because Sizemore can still be counted on to play an average center field when healthy. Why would the Indians want to move someone down the defensive spectrum when they don’t have to?
The Astros probably wouldn’t move Bourn unless they got a real knockout offer, especially considering they’ll have another year of him under team control. Houston has probably already seen his best work, as well, and that will knock his trade value down further as teams speculate on his defensive value moving forward.