Atlanta Braves Roster Decisions Loom: Bourn or Swisher, Who Stays?

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On late Sunday night, MLBTradeRumors ran a piece derived from an answer from the latest Mark Bowman piece for the Atlanta Braves regarding the future of Nick Swisher or Michael Bourn in a Braves uniform.  Surprising absolutely no one, Bowman confirmed that the Braves are of course trying to unload one of the pair of outfielders.  He also indicated that Bourn was the one more likely to be on the move, as Swisher provides a switch hitting bat and a backup first base option for Freddie Freeman.  And no, Freeman is not going anywhere, and the joke won’t be funny.

There’s no doubt that both of these players can’t properly exist on the Braves 25 man roster to begin the season; an influx of low cost depth signings supplementing the existing players makes having both of them together a bit redundant.  This only gets harder, weirder, and even more redundant with this mornings news that the Braves have agreed to bring back the versatile Kelly Johnson.  Johnson also seemingly negates Bowman’s point about Swisher being the only backup at first base.

Signing Gordon Beckham and Emilio Bonifacio alongside Johnson have given the Braves 3 new versatile bench options to work with.  As it shakes up, here is the projected Braves starting 8:

C Tyler Flowers
1B Freddie Freeman
2B Jace Peterson
3B Adonis Garcia ??
SS Erick Aybar
LF Hector Olivera ??
CF Ender Inciarte
RF Nick Markakis

And the bench options:

OF/1B Swisher
OF Bourn
INF/OF Kelly Johnson
2B/3B Gordon Beckham
INF/OF Emilio Bonifacio
C AJ Pierzynski

A very veteran bench for sure, but do you want your only backup shortstop option to also be your only backup center field option in Emilio Bonifacio?  Bonifacio has been regarded as a solid second and third baseman in his career, but his limited work at short and center in his career has not been well received.  He also hit a miserable .167/.198/.192 in his 2015 stint with the White Sox.  That’s worse than both Bourn and Swisher.

And obviously having Olivera in left field is still a big experiment.  What if that doesn’t work out, and he goes back to third base?  Would you rather have Bourn or Swisher in that situation? I’m here to ask that very question… which one would you give up?  Certainly they are very different players…

Next: The Speedy Outfielder