Washington Nationals Editorial: Where Does Jayson Werth Rank Among NL East Left Fielders?
By Ricky Keeler
Michael Bourn – Atlanta Braves
Last season, Bourn began the year with the Cleveland Indians, but he was traded to the Braves in August along with Nick Swisher for Chris Johnson. In 141 games between the two teams, he had a slash line of .238/.310/.282 with 30 RBI’s and 17 stolen bases.
Out of the 42 games Bourn played with the Braves last year, he played 28 of them in left field, but his two gold gloves in 2009 and 2010 with the Houston Astros came as a center fielder. Bourn is far from the player that he was in 2012 when he was named to the All-Star Game for the third time, stole 42 bases, and had an on-base percentage of .348.
Bourn will be 33 years old this season and is entering the final year of his contract. He has a $12 million vesting option for next year, but it is only guaranteed if he makes 550 plate appearances, which he hasn’t done each of the last two seasons.
Another name to keep an eye on for that position is Hector Olivera. Olivera was dealt from the Dodgers to the Braves in July of last season. Although he played third base in the 21 games he played with Atlanta last year, he did play three games in left field during the Puerto Rican Winter League.
With Atlanta in re-building mode for this season, left field does leave a lot to be desired. At the very least, the Braves need Bourn to hit better than .221 like he did last season to allow time for some of their younger outfielders to develop in the minor leagues.
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