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Indians and Michael Bourn agree to a four-year, $48 million contract

Feb 11, 2013, 8:30 PM EDT

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After seeing the market for his services dwindle for nearly the entire offseason, Michael Bourn has finally found a home.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Bourn has agreed to a contract with the Indians. The deal is worth $48 million over four years and includes a vesting option for a fifth year which could push the total to $60 million.

Bourn originally hoped to land a deal north of the five-year, $75.25 million contract B.J. Upton signed with the Braves, so this looks like a relative bargain in comparison. Still, Scott Boras deserves credit for getting a pretty good deal for his client given the circumstances. While the Mets were reluctant to give up their first-round pick (11th overall) and draft pool money to sign Bourn, Cleveland’s first-round pick is protected. The Indians forfeited their second-round pick to sign Nick Swisher, so Jim Callis of Baseball America hears that they’ll give up their competitive balance pick (No. 69 overall) to bring Bourn into the fold.

The Indians were mentioned as a possibility for Bourn as recently as last week, so this doesn’t come completely out of nowhere. However, it seemed like a long shot at the time given that Swisher, Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs were already in-house for the outfield. It’s a pretty good bet that Bourn, Swisher and Brantley will be in the lineup on most days, though Swisher and Mark Reynolds could alternate between first base/DH duties, opening up a spot for the speedy Stubbs in right. The Indians could also explore trades involving Stubbs. All in all, it’s a pretty nice problem to have. I don’t think the Indians have enough pitching to threaten the Tigers in the AL Central, but it looks like Terry Francona’s first year as skipper will be an interesting one.

UPDATE: According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Mets also made a four-year, $48 million offer to Bourn. However, they were informed that it would take an arbitrator two to three weeks to decide whether they would be able to keep their first-round pick. And with spring training approaching, Bourn just wasn’t willing to wait that long, so he took the Indians’ deal.

  1. mamsy2000 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Didn’t see that one coming!

  2. dabrowns91 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Did the Dolans rob a bank??? I’m impressed.

  3. tonyricemajorharris - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    Uggghhhh

  4. dondada10 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Nice job off-season by Cleveland both in free agency and on the trade front.

    • dondada10 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

      There’s a stoner typo for you guys.

  5. chill1184 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Good for Bourn for getting his money

  6. timmons94 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Wow. I knew once Francona was hired the dolans were serious about winning. Good for them. Diehard tribe fan since 85. Let’s go Indians

  7. barrywhererufrom - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Yankee fan here but good for the tribe..wouldn’t surprise me if the Indians battle for a.wildcard spot

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:31 PM

      With the Yankees?

      • historiophiliac - Feb 12, 2013 at 12:13 AM

        Nicely done!

  8. brianabbe - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    If you’re an Indians fan, it’s somewhat bittersweet. Cleveland might have had arguably a better offseason than any other team, and they’re still probably a team that tops out at .500. They still need a few more arms for the rotation before they contend, but that lineup is now at least fairly solid.

    • Kevin Gillman - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      Brian, that bullpen and offense is good enough to be contenders. I know their pitching is suspect, but there is no reason why Justin Masterson can’t do what he did in 2011, setting the tone for the rotation. The bullpen will be one of the best in the league.

      • ctony1216 - Feb 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM

        The Indians didn’t have one starting pitcher with more than 11 wins or with an ERA under 4.20. They really need starting pitching. Or maybe the owners see something in the staff that the numbers don’t show.

      • Kevin Gillman - Feb 12, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        Masterson had a good season in 2011, he had I believe 22 QS, and ERA under 4.20, and won 12 games. One reason he only won 12 games is because of the bad offense. He was in most of the games, going against many teams number one starters. No reason to not think he can’t do that again, especially with Terry Francona, a man he knew in the Boston organization before.

        Carlos Carrasco might also be the wildcard in this rotation, because he will be healthy going into this season, although he will be on an IP limit, so I would say he won’t go any higher than 6 IP.

        Brett Myers is a veteran, he has thrown over 200 IP many times in his career, and keeping his teams in the game. He can do it again.

        Scott Kazmir might still have something left, he’s only 28 years old. He just has to stay healthy, something that could be difficult, but if he can’t, we know we will have Trevor Bauer.

        Zach McAllister can be a solid guy, similiar to Jake Westbrook, and he did well for the Indians.

        Ubaldo Jimenez has to be that number 2 starter though that holds everything together. I am trusting in Terry Francona with him, because if he can’t turn him around, nobody can.

        Our starting rotation is the weakness, but here is the key to the team, get through 6 innings, and let the bullpen take over, because I think the Indians bullpen will be the strength of the team.

        No matter what, the Indians have every right to be called contenders, with 2 Wildcard teams in the mix. Plus, the Indians signed 2 of the Top 5 Free Agents on the market this offseason, when was the last time that happened?

      • ctony1216 - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        Masterson was 11-15 with a 4.93 ERA — despite having a monster bullpen to finish games for him. And he’s their No. 1 starter. Jimenez had a 5.40 ERA and lost 17 games! Despite that monster bullpen. I like the Tribe. I would love to see them win their division, but that starting pitching is weak.

        Maybe with a better offense, the pitcher’s will feel less pressure and throw better. Maybe Francona can handle the staff better and get more wins out of them. I wish ‘em luck.

      • Kevin Gillman - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:28 PM

        And I think that will happen. Even despite Justin’s bad season, he still worked over 200 IPs. Now with that monster bullpen, just get to the 6th, and let everyone else do their job. I think too the offense will give the starters more leads to work with. But the most important, and maybe the most cliche line is to throw strikes. Justin was behind many hitters, as was Ubaldo. You throw strikes, it gives your team better chances to win. I’m ready for the season to start.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:33 PM

      You would lose that argument about the Indians having a better off season than any other team.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 12, 2013 at 6:54 AM

        Like Boston, the Indians did collect some useful spare parts during the off season and they may have done a better job than Boston. The Jays on the other hand, added 10 new players to the 25 man roster of whom 5 have played in a total of 12 All Star games. There is no question that the Jays had the best off season. For those envious people who were all thumbs, good luck my friends.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM

        I like the Jays, love what they did this offseason, but at this point it’s probably best to shut up and see how things pan out. Remember this? http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-qp8jhJSka0E/TZSmpMYr8MI/AAAAAAAACT8/AvaiA0KIVOo/s1600/red%2Bsox%2Bbest%2Bteam%2Bin%2Bbaseball%2B2011.jpg

  9. thebadguyswon - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    As a Mets fan, thank you Cleveland!

    • ikedavisnose - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:44 PM

      Maybe, but is a combination of Colin Cowgill and/or Marlon Byrd really that good

      • thebadguyswon - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:46 PM

        No. But who cares? Why spend the money on a 30-year-old when we won’t win this year anyway? Marlon Byrd won’t make the team, BTW. Looking at his stats the last time he played, I’m not sure he even has a pulse.

      • chill1184 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:48 PM

        Price was too high IMO. Sometimes one must roll the dice

      • ikedavisnose - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:56 PM

        True but still that combo isn’t that great

      • dondada10 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:01 PM

        Cowgill may turn out to be alright. That statue of Lucas Duda playing left is what worries me.

      • ikedavisnose - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:11 PM

        It depends on which Duda shows up and if den Dekker and Cap’n Kirk learn how to not strike out so much

  10. kjt929 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    If it’s true good for them if not then another Scott Borris attempt to make a market for Bourn and what the indians should do is see what Umbaldo Jimenez can do as a closer and trade away Chris Perez for a First-Round Pick and a couple decent prospects and sign Kyle Loshe. How yah like that deal

    • frank433 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:52 PM

      You know you can’t trade draft picks, right? So how do I like that trade? It’s turrible.

      • imthewiz77 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:32 PM

        I wish i could give this a thousand thumbs up

  11. seahawks80 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Obviously money is more important to Boras and Bourne than winning.

    • Reflex - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      Obviously first round draft picks are worth more to contenders than 30 year old outfielders.

      Money was never the issue here.

    • jwbiii - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:17 PM

      Other teams recently mentioned as being interested in Bourn were the Mets and the Cubs. Do their short term prospects for winning look any better than the Indians?

    • sportsnut101 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:51 PM

      he can still get traded after yr one so relax

  12. seahawks80 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Bourn will not even get a sniff of the playoffs in the next 4 years.

  13. fellspointbird - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    From the Braves to the Indians… there has to be a joke in there somewhere

  14. Jackson - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Actually not surprised by this…per the new CBA, the Indians don’t have to give up their first round pick since they have one in the top 10.

  15. Panda Claus - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    The Indians just might be really respectable in ’13. In my mind the Francona over Acta upgrade probably brings a 10-game improvement alone.

  16. necr0philia - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Feelspointbird said

    From the Braves to the Indians… there has to be a joke in there somewhere

    Yes, the joke is Bourne!!

  17. necr0philia - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Sorry name correction. Fells

  18. necr0philia - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Sorry name correction. Fells

  19. joerymi - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    If I am a Braves fan, I am a bit annoyed. Bourne is simply a superior player to B.J. Upton and he just signed a contract with another team for over $20 Million less than they signed Upton for. Upton and Upton is cute and all, but Justin Upton and Bourn is a better outfield.

    As far as Cleveland, I am not really sure what the organization is attempting. Bourn and Swisher are nice players but they aren’t pushing them into a position to challenge in the division.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      Bourne is simply a superior player to B.J. Upton and he just signed a contract with another team for over $20 Million less than they signed Upton for

      Not really sure where you think Bourn is the better player than Upton?

      BB%
      Upton – 10.6%
      Bourn – 8.8%

      ISO
      Upton – .167
      Bourn – .093

      fWAR
      Upton – 23.1
      Bourn – 21.4
      (this is close enough to be a push, although Bourn’s relies heavily on last year’s output so I still felt it was worthwhile)

      Age next season
      Upton – 28
      Bourn – 30

      Bourn’s skill set relies heavily on him staying an elite defender, because none of his other skills rate as plus. He doesn’t walk a lot and he hits with 0 power. He’s also going to be on the wrong side of 30 so there’s a serious chance of a Chone Figgins part 2 happening.

  20. stephenolszewski - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    I’d rather pay Michael Bourn that money than Shane Victorino, Indians had one of the best off seasons in the MLB if not the best off season only baffling move was a minor league deal for Jason Giambi…..why

  21. kjericho43 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Pagan gets 4/40, Victorino get 3/39. Bourn is better than both….AND then: he has to go to the Indians? Strange market this year, for sure.

    • paperlions - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      The patient team ALWAYS does the best in FA. In general, the earlier the deal the worse for the team….more bidders = bigger overpay.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:45 PM

        The patient team ALWAYS does the best in FA

        I think Aaron and Bill/TCM would like a word with you about what the Twins have done this year.

      • paperlions - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:00 PM

        Well, you have to be patient and, here is the key part, still be willing to spend some money.

    • stex52 - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:04 PM

      I think it’s a fair to good price for Bourn. Hard to predict four years out, but I think they will get full value on the contract.

  22. imthewiz77 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Indians will be competitive this year.For Bourn’s sake, at least he’s not on the Astros anymore

  23. uyf1950 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Good to see some of these teams spending money to put a better product on the field for their fans. It’s good for all of baseball.

  24. uyf1950 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    Then there was one. Just one player left that received a qualifying offer and turned it down, Kyle Lohse. Round and round he goes where he lands no ones knows.

    • cackalackyank - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      Wondering if he still might not land in back in St Louis. That Carpenter news had to hurt. In spite of what they said at first, it has to be a little reassuring to them to know that a pitcher well known to them is ready and waiting. Time to wait and see what happens in the next few days.

      • paperlions - Feb 12, 2013 at 7:27 AM

        There is just no reason for StL to re-sign him. They have a crap ton of young guys ready to pitch in the majors and they all project as mid-rotation starters or better. True, they may not be better than Lohse in 2013….but they may, and they’ve got to start sometime. Miller, Rosenthal, and Kelly (obviously) are all ready…and there is only 1 spot open.

  25. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Does this mean the Braves get Cleveland’s highest draft pick, and bump the Yankees’ compensation pick for Swisher back a round?

    • uyf1950 - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:48 PM

      No it doesn’t. It only means the Indians lose their 3rd round draft pick. The compensation picks/sandwich picks all occur after the 1st round picks are completed. The Yankees 2 compensation picks before this signing were 29 and 32 with this signing I believe their compensation picks now are 29 and 33. They also have their own 1st round pick which is #27 in this years upcoming draft. Hopefully that was helpful..

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 12, 2013 at 3:26 PM

        Thx!

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