INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- According to executives here, free-agent center fielder Michael Bourn is among the most popular available players, so popular he's getting interest from teams that are completely unexpected, including even the Red Sox.
The Nationals and Phillies have long been seen as among the favorites to land the speedy center fielder, but Danny Knobler identified on Friday the Reds are another possibility, and sources suggest even the Red Sox are considering Bourn.
Boston may be figuring it's only likely to have one more year with center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who's a free agent after the 2013 season, and so Bourn could become a ready-made replacement, just a year ahead of time.
Leadoff hitters and dynamic center fielders are popular on the market, and Bourn is both.
The Nationals have long been an admirer of Bourn, who had nine homers, 57 RBI, 42 stolen bases and a .274 batting average with the Braves this season.
The Braves like Bourn but wonder if he's out of their price range. Braves GM Frank Wren is looking to fill center field plus either left field or third base, and has said they don't like to dedicate too high a percentage of their payroll to one player. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggested Pagan may be a more likely sign for them.
The Dodgers have been mentioned as a very big long shot for Bourn. Los Angeles has three starting outfielders, doesn't expect to move any of them and is concentrating on pitching now.