Braves acquire Bourn in 5-player deal

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The Braves were reluctant to give up more than one of their top pitching prospects: Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Mike Minor or Randall Delgado. Turns out, they didn’t have to surrender any of them to acquire Bourn.

Schafer, once considered Atlanta’s center fielder of the future, showed signs of finally living up to the hype since being recalled from the minors early this season. But he was hitting just .240 with one homer, seven RBIs and a team-high 15 stolen bases before going on the disabled list with an injured finger last week.

The 24-year-old Schafer may go on to have a long, productive career, but the Braves needed someone who could help right away in their pursuit of a second straight playoff appearance.

“On a team that’s poised to win,” Wren said, “we need the finished product.”

All-Star catcher Brian McCann and outfielder Nate McLouth joined Schafer on the DL last week. Jones is still on the active roster but hasn’t started in nearly a week because of a strained quadriceps. Outfielder Jason Heyward has been a major disappointment, hitting just .219 before Sunday.

The Astros also sent an undisclosed amount of cash to the Braves to cover part of Bourn’s salary. He is making $4.4 million this season.

“It’s definitely tough leaving Houston, my hometown,” the outfielder said in a statement released by the Astros. “But I understand the trade. I have the chance to be in a pennant race, so I’m happy about that.”

In addition to Schafer, the Braves parted with right-handers Juan Abreu and Paul Clemens and left-hander Brett Oberholtzer. The 26-year-old Abreu was relieving at Triple-A Gwinnett, where he went 4-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 41 games this season. Clemens, 23, and Oberholtzer, 22, were both starters at Double-A Mississippi.

The Astros, struggling with baseball’s worst record, have totally dismantled their team over the past two weeks to build for the future. They received nine minor leaguers, a player to be named and Schafer in the deals for Bourn, Pence and second baseman Jeff Keppinger, who was sent to the Giants.

Houston general manager Ed Wade has come under fire from Astros fans for trading away the team’s top players while getting little immediate return. He pleaded for patience.

“I can understand the level of concern and disbelief that is out there,” he said. “But we’ve got to do the things to point us in the direction where we’re not going to be going through the types of seasons that we’re going through right now and that we’ve gone through in the past.”

Wade said it was vital to build the organization’s depth, and the only way to do that was trading established players for prospects.

“We inherited a pretty barren farm system,” he said, “and we’re paying the price for it right now.”

Schafer plans to take batting practice in a few days, and the Astros believe he’ll be able to come off the DL as scheduled on Aug. 11. He will move right into the Houston lineup as soon as he’s healthy.

“He seems thrilled with the opportunity to be here,” manager Brad Mills said. “His finger’s feeling pretty good. We’ll get some X-rays on it and see how it’s going.”

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