Michael Bourn rumors intensify; Braves getting ‘more involved’

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The Astros might as well continue remaking the team after trading Hunter Pence to Philadelphia, so Michael Bourn could be the next to go.  ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick claims the “Astros’ efforts to move Bourn are picking up steam,” while FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports the Braves are getting “more involved.”

Bourn is hitting .304/.364/.405 this season, and he leads the majors with 39 steals in 46 attempts.  The Reds are also thought to be very interested in him as they look for a true leadoff hitter.

Bourn probably won’t bring as much in return as Pence, in part because he’s only under control for one more year.  He makes $4.4 million this season, and he’s probably looking at a raise to $7 million or so in his final year of arbitration next season.

It was reported earlier Saturday that the Braves were willing to give up left-hander Mike Minor in a Pence deal with the Astros.  If they’re willing to surrender him for Bourn instead, they’d be the heavy favorites here.  The Braves, though, could likely get Coco Crisp instead without surrendering a top prospect.  They’re also in the mix for B.J. Upton.

Joe Maddon: “I have a defensive foot fetish.”

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The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.

Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.

Well then.

The Nationals have scored 62 runs during four Joe Ross starts

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If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.

Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.

Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.

Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.