It appears the purse strings in Cleveland have been loosened. Surprisingly the Indians have expressed an interest in free agent outfielder Michael Bourn. As inconceivable as this may be, it comes from a reputable baseball insider.
ESPN’s Buster Olney, not one to throw around rumors without substantiation, says today on twitter the Tribe is in the running. But there is a twist.
“Indians among the teams that might have interest in Michael Bourn if his price tag dropped A LOT. Lots of clubs trolling for bargains now. “
Could the selling of SportsTimeOhio really give the Dolan’s enough money to throw around on three free agents in one season. Along with that the price of Terry Francona, the new manager, and you have a mini “New York Yankee” spending spree in the wigwam.
Bourn would be a welcomed addition, however the outfield appears to be set with Michael Brantley, Drew Stubbs and Nick Swisher. Still, there isn’t a viable DH on the roster yet and Terry Francona said today on a Cleveland radio station a “DH could be found outside the organization.” Is that code for a Bourn deal could be real?
Bourn is a center fielder by trade. He batted .274 with Atlanta last year in 154 games, scoring 90 runs, stealing 42 bases and had 70 walks. He was the lead off man for the Braves and made $6.85 million last year and it will take at least $12 million for 4 years to sign him. Stubbs is slated to be the lead off man, but Bourn would be a definite improvement.
It was thought the New York Mets had the inside track, yet they appear to be concerned with a fourth year on the contract and giving up a first round draft pick. They might be willing to offer a fourth season, however don’t seem willing to spend close to $15 million per season Bourn wants and would only follow through if their 11th overall draft pick becomes protected.
If the Indians are able to somehow secure Bourn, they could move Stubbs to right, play Bourn in center and Brantley in left. Swisher would probably move to first and Mark Reynolds, another free agent signee, could be the new DH.
No doubt this might be a “pie in the sky” but it would improve the Indians and give them more flexibility on the trade market down the road.
Dave Mitchell co-hosts with Mark Donahue the UST talk show “Ohio Baseball Weekly,” highlighting the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. The Show returns on March 4th, at 9pm with a two-hour special.