Indians Sign Michael Bourn to Four Year Contract
By Mike Brandyberry
According to CBS Sportsline’s Jon Heyman, the Cleveland Indians have signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a four year contract valued at $48 million. According to Heyman the deal has a vesting fifth year that could make the contract worth $60 million if he gets 550 plate appearances in 2016.
Bourn, 30, hit .274, with nine home runs, 57 runs batted in and 42 stolen bases in 2012 with the Atlanta Braves. He is a career .272 hitter, two-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner in six Major League seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros and the Braves. He led the National League in stolen bases from 2009-11.
Heyman reported the New York Mets were in competition with the Indians for Bourn until the very end. New York was reluctant to sign Bourn and lose their first round selection in the June First-Year Draft. According to New York Post’s Joel Sherman a Major League Baseball arbiter would take 2-3 weeks to rule on the Mets’ request to not be penalized with their first pick. With Spring Training beginning, Bourn decided to take the Indians’ offer. The Mets felt their first round pick should be protected since they had one of the ten worst records in baseball in 2012.
Cleveland’s first round pick is protected because it is a top-10 selection. The Mets pick 11th in this year’s draft. Cleveland will lose their third pick in the draft, the 69th overall, because their second round selection was given to the New York Yankees as compensation when they signed Nick Swisher.
Bourn gives the Indians an elite leadoff hitter for the top of the order and arguably the fastest and strongest, defensive outfield with Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs. Swisher will likely play first base and designated hitter instead of right field, like he was originally planned. Bourn’s and Swisher’s contracts run concurrently.
Heyman did speculate that with three centerfielders on the roster, the Indians could explore trading Brantley or Stubbs.
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