NEW YORK -- Trades are supposed to be about filling needs.
Give the Braves credit. They filled needs.
They hadn't anyone hit 30 home runs since 2006, so they needed a power hitter, preferably right-handed. Last winter, they got Dan Uggla.
They hadn't had anyone steal 20 bases in a season since 2005, so they needed a leadoff man who could run. Last Sunday, they got Michael Bourn.
Sure enough, Uggla has 23 home runs, well on his way to a fifth straight year with 30-plus, even though he was lost at the plate for nearly three months. He has 54 RBI, and he has a 26-game hitting streak, too.
And sure enough, Bourn has 40 steals, although 39 of those came when he was still with the Astros.
Two years ago, Bourn stole 61 bases. That same year, the entire Braves team stole 58.
"I had no idea," Bourn said Friday.
Looking back, it makes perfect sense now that the Braves got Bourn, rather than Carlos Beltran, Josh Willingham, Ryan Ludwick, Hunter Pence, Carlos Quentin or any of the other outfielders they were linked to.
They have the middle of the order straightened out, or at least they will once Chipper Jones and Brian McCann rejoin the lineup to go with Uggla and Freddie Freeman. What they didn't have was someone to go at the top.
"Those guys are hard to find," Braves general manager Frank Wren said.
He knows. He's been looking.
Wren said that when he got his top scouts together for a late June conference call, Bourn's name kept coming up. There was a thought last week that the Braves switched tracks and started focusing on center fielders once Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer went on the disabled list, but Wren said they were always looking for someone like Bourn.
"This guy fit our needs," he said.
The Braves, with their outstanding pitching, play a lot of low-scoring, close games. They realized that they were too dependent on the home run, and that they needed other ways to score runs. But they had so little speed that they ranked 27th in baseball in steals.
The last few days, with exciting rookie Jose Constanza batting ninth and Bourn leading off (as manager Fredi Gonzalez experiments with the pitcher batting eighth), the Braves might have the two fastest players in the game hitting back-to-back.
It's a different look, and one Gonzalez likes.
"[Bourn] creates situations," Gonzalez said. "The defense is uncomfortable. The pitcher is uncomfortable, and sometimes that creates a not-so-good pitch."
It all goes to make the Braves a lot more dangerous offensively, and it makes them a much more dangerous team going into the playoffs.
And, since they got Bourn without surrendering any of their four prized pitching prospects, it makes them dangerous for the next few years.
They have someone who should hit 30 home runs every year. They have someone who should steal 40 bases or more every year.
They traded to fill their needs.
And isn't that how it's supposed to work?