The Cleveland Indians made a shocking move by signing speedy center fielder Michael Bourn to a four-year, $48 million deal Monday. With an aggressive offseason that includes the additions of Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds, Drew Stubbs and Trevor Bauer, among others, owners Larry and Paul Dolan are showing a commitment to spend and bring back a contender to resemble the mid-’90s Tribe. (The Indians’ payroll has jumped about $20 million from last season, going from $65 million to the mid-$80 million range.)
The left-handed hitting Bourn is a pure speed guy who is a Gold Glove center fielder. He hit .274 with 96 runs, 26 doubles, 10 triples, nine home runs, 57 RBIs and 42 steals for the Atlanta Braves last year.
Bourn’s addition also gives the Indians the nice problem of having three center fielders — Bourn, Stubbs and Michael Brantley. Likely, Swisher will move from right field to first base and Reynolds will take over at designated hitter, helping to fill a void that had not been adequately addressed, until now. There’s also the possibility the Indians would consider trading Stubbs to help bolster a starting rotation that was sub-par, to say the least, last season.
Whatever the Indians do this season, fans can’t say the front office isn’t trying to put a winner on the field.