The Indians just got better and a whole lot faster. Now they have to figure out which one of their three center fielders will actually play center field.
Monday night, GM Chris Antonetti came to terms with center fielder Michael Bourn on a four-year, $48 million deal with a $12 million vesting option for a fifth season. Bourn, who started 153 games in center field for Atlanta last year, must pass a physical to complete the deal.
Here's the breakdown on the deal: $7 million in 2013; $13.5 million in 2014; $13.5 million in 2015 and $14 million in 2016. Bourn can vest the $12 million option for 2017 by getting 550 plate appearances in 2016.
The addition of Bourn means manager Terry Francona could have a starting outfield of three center fielders: Bourn, Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs. The addition of Bourn strengthens the offense in that it most likely will shift right fielder Nick Swisher to first base and Mark Reynolds to designated hitter. The Indians went to spring training without a permanent solution at DH, but they could have one now.
GM Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona were mum on the subject of who goes where because they had yet to talk to the players who will have to change positions. Bourn is expected to take his physical on Wednesday at the Indians' Goodyear training facility with the signing being officially announced at a press conference Thursday. Friday is the team's first full-squad workout.
As for speed, the Indians are loaded. Bourn stole 42 bases last year after leading the National League the previous three years with 61, 52 and 61 steals. He'll join Jason Kipnis and Stubbs, who stole 31 and 30 bases, respectively last year. Brantley reached double figures with 12.
Indians reach agreement with Michael Bourn on a four-year, $48 million deal
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Feb 12