The Braves released Michael Bourn yesterday, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The veteran center fielder had previously been designated for assignment just prior to Opening Day, and the Braves were unable to find a trade partner for him during the 10-day DFA window.
The outcome shouldn’t come as a great surprise, as Atlanta reportedly sought out trade partners for Bourn throughout the offseason but were never able to find a taker for the declining veteran, who is slated to earn $15MM this year in the final season of a four-year, $48MM contract originally signed with Cleveland. Bourn provided some value in the first season of that deal, but recurring hamstring issues in the second and third year of the deal (as well as a neck issue last season) chipped away at his productivity and also led to prolonged stints on the disabled list in 2014. Bourn has batted a combined .247/.312/.322 in the past two seasons, and his stolen base numbers have declined as well — both in terms of raw accumulation and his success rate. After averaging 51 steals per season from 2008-12, Bourn stole a combined 50 bases in 377 games from 2013-15.
Bourn will now be free to sign with any team, and any club that adds him to the fold would only be responsible for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum, with the Braves and Indians picking up the bill for the remainder of his that $15MM figure he’s owed this season. The D-backs, who lost A.J. Pollock for a yet-undetermined amount of time due to a fractured elbow, have been linked to Bourn since he was designated for assignment, as have the Cardinals.