February 12, 2013
He Not Busy Getting Bourn is Busy Dying
Signed OF-L Michael Bourn to a four-year deal worth $48 million with a vesting option that could push the deal's worth to $60 million. [2/11]
Imagine reading this headline back in November: Bourn signs with the Indians as camps open. You'd think it was from 2017 or 2018, but it's not. With a few strokes of a pen all the talk about the Mets and their unprotected pick goes by the wayside. Instead the Indians, whose first-round pick is protected, stepped up and signed the best remaining free agent. The deal still comes at a draft-pick cost: Cleveland will lose pick 69, a selection added in the competitive balance draft lottery. Cleveland already lost its second-round pick for signing Nick Swisher, leaving them one pick in the first 70.
In return the Indians get one of the game's best outfield defenders. The same athleticism and explosiveness that propels Bourn to here and fro in the outfield shows up in his offensive game. Bourn is a threat to lead the league in steals, having swiped 40 or more in each of the past five years. He's opportunistic about advancing during the run of play, and the bunt is part of his offensive toolbox. While the previous sentences seem to build to a conclusion about Bourn being the typical leadoff hitter, he's far from it. Rather Bourn is not as contact-heavy as you might expect: He fanned a career-high 22 percent of the time in 2012, and owns a 20 percent strikeout rate since 2010. The overall package still lends itself to above-average production, however.
The risk comes in the latter years of the contract. If Bourn's speed deteriorat Not a subscriber?
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