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

Seahawks, Rams play with ‘special’ edge

Both teams have traditionally featured some of the best special-teams play in the NFL.

Several Seahawks fined by NFL: Ifedi is docked $24,000

Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Jefferson were both fined $9,115 for unnecessary roughness penalties.

There’s more to successful hockey than scoring goals

Everett winger Bryce Kindopp has been quietly contributing in many ways to the team’s success.

Seahawks sticking behind kicker Walsh despite struggles

Coach Pete Carroll says ‘He’s our guy,’ and the former Viking says he’s still as confident as ever.

A look at how the Huskies built their strength at linebacker

Tevis Bartlett, Keishawn Bierria and Ben Burr-Kirven all took different paths to starting roles with UW.

UW men’s basketball to retire Tacoma native Thomas’ No. 2 jersey

The NBA All-Star will be honored in Seattle during the Huskies’ Feb. 15 game against Utah.

Thursday’s prep results, with links to recaps

Here are Thursday’s prep sports results, with links to recaps: BOYS BASKETBALL… Continue reading

POLL RESULTS: The NHL has your hockey support

Responders are prepared to support a Seattle NHL team, perhaps at the expense of the Silvertips.

Mariners pick up first baseman Ford from Yankees in Rule 5 Draft

Ford spent last season in Double-A and Triple-A.

Most Read