Despite Justin Upton being traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Atlanta Braves last week, Braves fans (and other fans) seem to think Michael Bourn could still be an option in Atlanta. Bourn is still a free agent, so in the most basic sense of the possible, he could be an option for the Braves, but in reality he is not. He can't be. They have nowhere to play him.
When asked about this very topic, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution put the rumors to bed.
Bourn is not attracting the attention that many people thought he was going to. The Braves made him a $13.3 million qualifying offer which means whatever teams signs him must forfeit draft pick compensation to the Braves. In the case of a team like the Mets (who have been rumored to be interested), the 11th overall pick would be given up. The first ten picks of the draft are protected, so if a team signing Bourn had a pick in the top ten, they would forfeit a second round pick.
The Braves, after losing Bourn, picked up B.J. Upton via free agency and Justin Upton via trade. The Upton brothers will patrol the outfield alongside Jason Heyward, instantly making the Braves outfield one of the best in the league. That being said, it's pretty clear that Bourn could not return to Atlanta now. Prior to the Braves trading for Justin Upton, there were rumors that Atlanta may re-sign the speedy Bourn. Now, that is virtually impossible.
Bourn spent the last season and a half in Atlanta after being traded by the Houston Astros. He hit .274/.348/.391 with 42 stolen bases last season. In 2011, Bourn stole 61 bases and led the National League in steals. Bourn has become one of the best outfielders in the game. He may not have much pop, but he has proven himself with his speed and his defense.
The two-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner will find somewhere to play. There is a team out there who will eventually give up the draft pick compensation necessary to sign him, but this has surely been an uneasy offseason for Bourn. He could have had $13.3 million guaranteed. Now, just a few weeks before spring training starts, he is waiting to see where he will play and for how long.