If the New York Mets stick to their stance on draft-pick compensation, the market for Michael Bourn shrinks by two. The Atlanta Braves acquired Justin Upton, a deal finalized Thursday, which eliminates them as a possible landing spot, notes ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
Among others being linked to Bourn, according to a report by CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, include the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs are the only club of the bunch that would not have to surrender their first-round pick to sign Bourn.
The Orioles could use Bourn in center and move Adam Jones to left, but only if Bourn were signed long term. Jones was just awarded a Gold Glove, but Bourn runs circles around Jones defensively, backed up by both the scouting eye and the advanced metrics that measure defensive value.
Crasnick adds via Twitter that the Rangers seem to be the best fit -- we summarized the club's center field plans here -- "unless Scott Boras can convince Mike Ilitch to sign him." The Tigers. Interesting.
T.R. Sullivan reported Thursday afternoon, however, that sources say the Rangers are not pursuing Bourn -- or right-hander Kyle Lohse -- and Bob Nightengale tweets that the favorites are Seattle and the Mets.
The Tigers are indeed intriguing, though they already have a very good, young centerfielder in Austin Jackson. Bourn would, however, be an upgrade at leadoff and as the third starting outfielder to go with Jackson and veteran Torii Hunter. As of now, Andy Dirks and Avisail Garcia are the leading candidates for the left field job.
One sleeper possibility is the Miami Marlins, who not only lack a centerfielder and leadoff hitter nearly as capable as Bourn, but the Marlins may be pressured to spend money on the 2013 roster, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Marlins may be a legitimate possibility if agent Scott Boras and Bourn go for a one-year deal with plans to hit the market again next offseason.