Free-agent outfielder Bourn agrees to deal with Indians

CLEVELAND — Criticized for not spending enough on free agents in recent years, the Indians splurged on another star.

The club agreed to terms Monday with outfielder Michael Bourn on a four-year, $48 million contract. It’s the second major deal this winter for the Indians, who signed free agent Nick Swisher to a four-year, $56 million contract in January.

Bourn, who was an All-Star with Atlanta last season, must pass a physical later this week in Goodyear, Ariz., before the deal can be completed. Bourn batted .274 with nine homers, 57 RBIs and 42 steals last season for the Braves. It’s not yet known when Bourn will have his medical exam.

As long as there isn’t a hang-up, the 30-year-old Bourn, who has remained on the market all winter, will move into the Indians’ starting lineup. The speedster played center field last season and would give an immediate boost to a Cleveland team that has reloaded with the acquisition of Swisher, manager Terry Francona and starter Brett Myers.

Fox Sports first reported Bourn’s deal.

Bourn, a two-time All-Star, Gold Glove winner and three-time steals leader in the NL, had also been pursued by the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs.

Getting Bourn will cost the Indians picks in June’s amateur draft. But it’s a small price for a player who will help them score more runs, improve their attendance — Cleveland averaged just 19,797 fans at home — and maybe even close the gap on Detroit in the AL Central.

The surprise signing caught one of Bourn’s new teammates off guard.

“Did we just sign Michael Bourn?” second baseman Jason Kipnis asked on his Twitter page.

Bourn, a .272 career hitter in seven seasons with Philadelphia, Houston and Atlanta, could wind up in a starting outfield alongside Swisher and Michael Brantley. The Indians also acquired center fielder Drew Stubbs in a trade with Cincinnati, giving Francona options and depth. It’s possible Swisher could be moved to first or even be used as the club’s designated hitter. Mark Reynolds, also signed during the offseason, can play first or DH.

The deal for Bourn also comes after the Indians signed slugger Jason Giambi and pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to minor league deals this last weekend. Matsuzaka must still pass a physical with the club.

The Indians collapsed in the second half last season, finishing 68-94 and 20 games behind the first-place Tigers. Manager Manny Acta was fired after Cleveland lost at least 90 games for the third time in four seasons.

But beginning with the hiring of Francona, the Indians have shown they’re not going to sit around and wait for things to improve.

More in Sports

Lacey Ramon races through laps Sunday afternoon during practice at Rat’s Nest in Shoreline on March 18, 2018. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Local woman helps U.S. roller derby team win World Cup gold

Lacey Ramon of Lake Stevens traveled to Europe to compete against the world’s best.

Who are the top 15 Everett Silvertips of all-time?

Herald columnist Nick Patterson makes his choices

Monday’s prep results

Baseball Non-conference A. Murphy 14, Interlake 7 Cascade conference Cedar Pak Christian… Continue reading

Prep golf preview: South Whidbey’s Heggenes aiming at state title

There’s no doubt that Kolby Heggenes is a talented athlete; her achievements… Continue reading

Prep golf preview: 5 storylines to watch

Here are five storylines to watch from the prep golf scene this… Continue reading

Saint Mary’s beats UW men 85-81

The Huskies’ season ends at 21-13.

Best of the Mariners poll, part eight: Left fielders

Cast your vote for the best-ever season by a Seattle Mariners left fielder.

Seahawks acquire cornerback Smith for conditional draft pick

Seattle also extended the contract of center Justin Britt.

Prep athletes of the week for 3-12-3/17

Boys soccer Bobby Stoyanov, Mountlake Terrace Stoyanov, a senior, scored seven goals… Continue reading

Most Read