Last minute deals are being done around the baseball world as we inch closer to Spring Training, and the Cleveland Indians made a pretty hefty move on Monday. They signed free agent outfielder Michael Bourn to a four-year deal worth $48 million.
The former Atlanta Braves star is a known terror on the bases, with 257 steals over the last five years. That's 55 more stolen bases than any other player in the Majors and no Cleveland runner has swiped more than 80 over that time period.
The Indians are making a serious threat to the rest of the American League, coaxing former manager Terry Francona to take the reigns in Cleveland. They also added former Yankees star Nick Swisher to add to the lineup.
The main concern about Bourn is he is not a superior lead-off hitter. Ken Rosenthal from FOX Sports commented on the value of Bourn and what he can contribute:
His value is dependent almost entirely on his speed. He strikes out too much, his on-base percentage is just OK for a leadoff hitter and he declined mardedly after the All-Star break last season.
We, the Indians will take him -- take his base-stealing ability, his elite defense in center field, his average of 153 games played over the past four seasons. The Cleveland rotation probably won't be good enough to compete with the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. But offensively, Francona's new club sure is interesting.
Bourn is scheduled to undergo a medical exam this week at the club's Spring Training site, and his contract will include a vesting option worth $12 million for the 2017 season.
Cleveland's Spring Training physicals for its position players are slated for Thursday, and the first full-squad workout is set for Friday morning.