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Indians Reportedly Agree to Terms With Michael Bourn

Indians Reportedly Agree to Terms With Michael Bourn
Michael Bourn (Photo:
February 11, 2013
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According to multiple reports, the Cleveland Indians have agreed to a four-year, $48 million contract with outfielder Michael Bourn. The contract includes a vesting option for a fifth year and will cost the team their second round pick they were awarded in the competitive balance lottery.

Bourn, 30, was widely considered the best position player left on the market and was MLB Trade Rumors' third-best free agent going into the offseason. He spent last season with the Atlanta Braves, posting a .274/.348/.391 line with nine home runs, 96 runs, and 42 steals in 155 games. He was also 13th in Fangraphs WAR last season, buoyed largely by his elite defense.

The outfielder will likely take over center field for Cleveland, with Michael Brantley in left field, and Drew Stubbs and Nick Swisher splitting time in right field. The move should also allow Swisher to play first base some of the time, with Mark Reynolds filling the DH hole at least part of the time. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, there could also be trade down the line, with Stubbs being dangled.

For Cleveland fans, the move represents the front office and the much-maligned Dolans spending above and beyond the budget to bring in elite talent. Time will tell if it translates to wins, but for now, the Francona-led change in approach should energize the fanbase.

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User Comments

February 12, 2013 - 8:56 AM EST
Bourn's contract is backloaded so he will only made $7 million this season, so looks like payroll will be more at $85 million. I don't see another free agent pickup in Lohse, but then again, anything is possible right now. I think if they do anything, they consider dealing Stubbs if someone bites on him for a good pitcher.
February 12, 2013 - 7:04 AM EST
Thank you Mr. Francona.... So excited spell check locked.
February 12, 2013 - 7:02 AM EST
Hi Tony. In looking at payroll numbers, we are now approaching $90 mil. Do you see another deal in the offing that could bolster the pitching staff, or, heaven forbid, are we prepared to go to the 6 figure range and go after Lohse ? What an off season. Francona sure brought a new mentality to the team, and good to see Shapiro, Antonetti and the Dolan's bought in. We are on the verge of being contenders, and another deal for a solid starter, or the emergence of Bauer, and Carrasco could sure change the complexion. I still cannot get over this. Well done, Antonetti, Shapiro and Dolans. And thank tou Mr. Francona for bringing a new vision to this team.
February 12, 2013 - 1:22 AM EST
Thats a link to the report saying mlb would view sign and trades as collusion.
February 12, 2013 - 12:59 AM EST
If the indians trade stubbs to the meta then techinally thats not a sign and trade its a counter movw to signing bourn. I was just stating that bourn will be an indian for the season. Mlb will watch moves with the compensation players very closely and have already mentioned pentalies would happen for such moves ala signing a trading a compensation player. I do love the lineup also its full of mismatches and very balanced. If dice-k can be healthy ,or bauer or carrasco be ready out of spring training they could do some damage. It will be fun to watch.
February 12, 2013 - 12:40 AM EST
Jake, could be a sign and trade, but not for Bourn. Signing Bourn could mean that we trade Stubbs to the Mets. I'd prefer to keep Stubbs and bat him #9. As the lineup turns back to #1, I'd have to think an opposing pitcher could be disturbed about having to pitch to Stubbs, Bourn, and Kipnis if any get on base because of the threat of the steal. He'd have to guard the basepaths and if two get on then the potential for a double steal is there.

And if any of those guys get on base, the fastballs are coming to the plate. Bourn on 2nd, Kipnis on 1st, and AsCab at the plate with the threat of a double steal very real = potential for major pitching mistake.
February 12, 2013 - 12:30 AM EST
To those on teitter wondering if this will be a sign and trade deal to the mets think again. Mlb came out a couple months ago and said any team trying to sign a player and trade him to a team to avoid the compensatation 1st round draft pick lose would be hit with penalties for colusion. Not happening. Micharl bourn will be an indian in 2013 and what a lineup. I see it as:
Cf m. Bourn
Ss a. Cabrera
1B n. Swisher
C c. Santana
2b j kipnis
Dh m. Reynolds
Lf m. Brantley
3b l. Chisenhall
Rf d. Stubbs
Thats a solid opening day lineup. I hope dice-k is healthy cause a rotation of
J. Masterson
U. Jimenez
B. Myers
Z. Mcallister
Thats not to bad with the improvement in outfield defense, a solid bullpen, and a strong lineup. Also this lets trevor bauer and carlos carrasco get themself fulling ready to pitch later this season or next year and dont forget by this time next season "texas" josh tomlin will be about 18 months removed from tommy john andback in the rotation. Things look bright for a franchise that looked so dark 4 months ago.
February 12, 2013 - 12:16 AM EST
Wow, never did I think they would make this move. Definitely good to slide Stubbs into the 4th outfielder role. Curious if this means they trade Chris Perez. Since they were supposedly up against the payroll threshold. Honestly I would have probably preferred they sign Lohse, since now they have 3 CFs, but, this works.
February 11, 2013 - 11:45 PM EST
Now the reports come out that Bourn has a similar deal with the Mets on the table without the option. He chooses Cleveland over a New York team.

Just wow.

Like the guys said on Smoke Signals tonight, Francona was our biggest signing. He is loved by a lot of MLB players and carries a lot of weight.
February 11, 2013 - 11:39 PM EST
This is insane. We need to pull back for a second though and remind ourselves we were also excited to see how well Stubbs could do this year. He still brings, grade A defense, 30-40 stolen bases and 15-20 homers on a good year. He also mashes lefties which was a focus this offseason. Moving Stubbs to Right and Swisher to 1st improves the defense in many ways. We can still rest guys alot but now having a quality starting lineup even when we are resting a few guys. Swisher can still spend time in Right Field vs tough right handers. Reynolds can also sit vs pitchers who get alot of strike outs. Basically DH can now be shared by Reynolds and McGuiness.

Now. Lets take a look at that lineup!

Bourn CF (gets on base and steals bases, perfect)

Brantley ( He didn't do well leading off anyway, again perfect 2 hole hitter)

Kipnis (puts 3 steal threats in a row and lets us make better use of his power)

Asdrubal ( Your really going to have him hit clean up? Why Not? He is perhaps the most complete hitter on the team, plus it keeps the speed train moving)

Nick Swisher (I like him better in the 5th slot anyway)

Carlos Santana (pressure will be off some, big year)

Mark Reynolds ( Its time to bring in some power to get the all the base stealers home)

Lonnie Chisenhall ( You know he could be a great hitter for this far down in the lineup)

Drew Stubbs RF ( I have a gut feeling he has a big year, brings power and speed to the bottom of the lineup what more do you want)

I love this lineup.

I love having Stubbs, Bourn, Brantley, Kipnis, Asdrubal all in a row. Thats tons of speed to generate runs. Then you get 3 tough switch hitters, a power bat in Mark Reynolds and a possible 270 with 17-20 homers guy in Lonnie Chisenhall to protect him.

Awesome lineup, awesome defense, awesome bullpen, awesome bench, awesome manager. If we can just find 5 starting pitchers who can keep us in ball gamers were set to compete.
February 11, 2013 - 11:14 PM EST
MLBTrade rumors said Brantley could be on trading block? That doesnt make sense to me Reynolds could DH now and Swisher play 1B if needed
February 11, 2013 - 10:49 PM EST
Getting both Bourn and Swisher on multi-year deals really helps make up for the lack of impact OF prospects above A-ball. I like spending on a weak spot of the overall system, especially since the bullpen and maybe SS are going to get significantly cheaper in 2014.
February 11, 2013 - 10:48 PM EST
First off i see common sense hasnt made a comment on this move. I guess he only makes comments when its a " bad move ". Moving on this is such a huge move. They have a huge upgrade is speed and outfield defense. Also now swisher doesnt have to play a full amount of games in the outfield so it will prolong his success during the full length of his contract. Last this is a very trade friendly contract. Many teams had no interest because they would lose their first round pick. Now they could trade him away from prospects to a team that really wants him and they get a very favorable contract. The indians just capped a great offseason the same day pitchers and catchers report to spring trainng. P.s. kyle lohse next??????????????
February 11, 2013 - 10:45 PM EST
Fantastic off season.
This is a test.
Do Indians fans show up or not.
The team did its part.
Maybe the Indians win 90...or 80...or 70.
But the team did its best to put a good team on the field.
I guarantee fans are excited more than they have been for many years.
I used to feel lonely on this site.
No more.
February 11, 2013 - 10:40 PM EST
WOOO!!! ......or maybe WAHOO!!!!! Did this really happen? Are we dreaming?! I wont be able to sleep tonight I am so excited!! Lets get this season going!! Go Tribe!!!
February 11, 2013 - 10:39 PM EST
I am totally thrilled with this signing, and I'm giddy to see the ownership/Francona making bold moves and showing a sense of urgency.

Let's be realistic/honest with ourselves here, though. This team is still not a contender. The rotation, as currently constituted, is one of the absolute worst in all of MLB. If we contend this season, it will be because Ubaldo somehow makes a comeback, Myers is solid, Bauer is truly an ace, and Carrasco comes back from TJ with no problems. Otherwise, we still can't keep up with the Tigers.

I'm not trying to be a Negative Nancy here. As I said, I'm thrilled to see the effort. And who knows? Maybe the FO will find a way to get another quality SP between now and opening day, or at the trade deadline if we're able to stay in the wildcard. I will remain optimistic, and I will get my ass in a seat at Progressive Field to support this new aggressive style from the FO as often as possible.
February 11, 2013 - 10:27 PM EST
This is an outstanding addition. It gives our roster so much flexibility. Stubbs will technically be the 4th OF. However, he will play a ton, as this allows us to put Swisher at 1B/DH quite a bit. Again, the roster becomes so much more flexible with this.
Jake Dungan
February 11, 2013 - 10:25 PM EST
Wow, did I pick a great year to make my debut as a baseball columnist! I admit I never thought in a million years we'd sign Bourn. Lohse maybe, but not Bourn. I'm more than happy to eat crow, though. I'll go ahead and say it, one more quality starting pitcher and the Indians are legitimate contenders.

Looking forward to covering the Tribe for the IBI this season!
February 11, 2013 - 10:22 PM EST
I do think we will still see Swisher in RF a majority of the time, but now they have the flexibility to play him more at DH and 1B. And they can now use Stubbs in more of a 4th outfielder role where he can be protected a little in his exposure against right-handers.
February 11, 2013 - 10:20 PM EST
Offseason of dreams continues. Hasn't been a better offseason than this for the Indians in I don't know how long. Not even an offseason like this in the 90s. Now, they need to win. You don't win ballgames with moves in the still have to play the games. But wow, talk about making your mark. Francona, Swisher, Bourn, Myers, Reynolds, Bauer, and then lots of good depth guys added in trades. Hell, even the NRI deals have been MUCH better this offseason.
February 11, 2013 - 10:05 PM EST
Jim and Tony,
I am absolutely stunned my god of the best free agents out their in november we got 3 of them bourn, swisher and reynolds!!! Holy moly this is unreal i feel like a tigers fan last year with the signing of fielder but that was predicated on losing v-Mart services for the entire 2012 season. I am beginning to believe that the tigers may not be a lock to win the AL Central. Bourn stubbs kipnis all can steal 30+ bases a year this is disruptive to any pitching staff. This allow us to force teams to be ultra careful while we have baserunners it totally changes the game. Defensively it gives us the best defensive outfield in baseball along with the braves and maybe better due to the arms of swisher and stubbs. I am curious to hear what the talking heads at espn and mlb-tv to scratch their heads and chris rose has to be dancing in the aisles at mlb-tv hq. The tigers may still be the favorite to win the division but the tribe will get some votes from the likes of gammons and justice for sure. BRAVO BRAVOBRAVO Frontoffice you totally blew indian fans away. The intangibles of this signing are incalculable and tangibles speak for themselves. OH MY GOD IS ALL I CAN SAY !!!!!!!
February 11, 2013 - 9:35 PM EST
Cleveland !!!! What the hell is going on ? This is unbelievable. And a Boo-rass client to boot !!!! What a coup !!! Can Lohse be far behind ? Have to now wonder if another deal could be happening with Stubbs and Cabrera. What an off season this has turned out to be. Methinks Francona has bought part of the team. Great job FO. If the pitching staff can be sorted out, this could be a real fun season. WOW !!!!!
February 11, 2013 - 9:35 PM EST
Holy crum. Fan-freaking-tastic. So much for Dolan being Mr. Cheap.

Brantley, Bourn, Stubbs in the OF. Swisher to 1B. Reynolds to DH. Speed on the basepaths and maybe the fastest outfield in MLB.
February 11, 2013 - 9:31 PM EST

No problem...we are all Tribe fans here, his age (he's still pretty young) is part of the reason I've cried for the Indians to make an aggressive run at him, for the right price. His price fell right where Edwin Jackson's range. Big time move by the FO.
Jim Piascik
February 11, 2013 - 9:24 PM EST

Thanks for the catch. I didn't think that looked right when I wrote it. Fun fact: the most recent December didn't take place in 2013, like I was thought for some reason.
February 11, 2013 - 9:22 PM EST
Unbelievable. So is Francona loaning the Tribe money.? I guess we don't have to worry about DH or who leads off now. Awesome. I just know someone is going to say we overpaid him. Who cares! We got freaking M Bourn!
February 11, 2013 - 9:18 PM EST
Btw, Bourn just turned 30 in late December. That one yr is significant when you consider how will he age over the life of the deal.

In all, I love it. Aggressive move, should put the Indians in the heat of things.

Makes me wish I lived back home...

Great job by the FO getting this done.
February 11, 2013 - 9:16 PM EST
Still don't see Stubbs as a true fourth outfielder...but this lineup is massively versatile. I'm in utter freakin shock. Who is this team? Well...what the hell...SIGN LOHSE!!!!!
Jim Piascik
February 11, 2013 - 9:11 PM EST
Same here Nick. I had plans of what I was going to get done tonight. No more!

QUICK NOTES: The fifth year may be a club option, not a vesting one. Dissenting reports out there. Same for which pick Cleveland will lose. I'm now seeing that they may actually hold onto the compensation pick and lose their third round pick. It's pretty fluid right now.
February 11, 2013 - 9:07 PM EST
Wow! Now we can use Stubbs as a 4th OF and late game replacement.....Bourn is a HUGE addition whose value goes well beyond what his basic stat line shows. I'm shocked....don't know what else to say right now!

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