The Cleveland Indians, who have been on somewhat of a spending spree this offseason, aren’t fooling around, as they have agreed to terms with All-Star Michael Bourn on a four-year, $48 million contract. The contract is contingent upon Bourn passing a physical. Bourn, the last marquee free-agent player to sign, was reportedly also being courted by the Mets, Mariners, Cubs and Rangers. Bourn’s contract could be worth $60 million over five years if he has 550 plate appearances in 2016.
If Cleveland doesn’t trade Drew Stubbs, who is a natural center fielder, they will likely move Nick Swisher to first base, a position he’s played plenty of in the past. Swisher, who signed a four-year, $56 million free-agent contract in December, would move to first base and Mark Reynolds would become the DH. This would give the Indians an outfield of Michael Brantley, Stubbs and Bourn.
The New York Mets, who were thought to have been the frontrunners for Bourn by many, did make a four-year, $48 million offer to Bourn, but it didn’t include a vesting option like Cleveland’s offer did. According to Jon Heyman @JonHeymanCBS, “the Mets pick 11th in the draft, so their pick isn’t protected. They were going to file a greivence to see if they could keep their first-round pick, if they signed Bourn, on the basis that the Pirates get a compensation pick in the top 10 due to not signing draftee Mark Appel last season. Had they done so, the Mets would have picked 10th and possibly would have ended up signing Bourn. Instead, the Mets would have faced weeks of waiting on MLB to resolve the situation and Bourn elected to sign with the Indians before they pulled back their offer. The Mets did not want to forfeit a first-rounder to sign Bourn.”
The Mets will be holding open tryouts for outfielders in Port St. Lucie, Florida at their spring training complex on Monday, February 18th. Anyone interested should contact Mets media director Jay Horwitz @Jay_HorwitzPR.
Absent any trades or free agent signings from either tryouts or MLB players who are sitting home without a spring training invite, it appears the Mets will head north with an outfield of Lucas Duda in LF, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and or Colin Cowgill in CF, and a platoon of lefty Mike Baxter along with a righty hitter Andrew Brown, Marlon Byrd, Zach Lutz, Justin Turner or Brian Bixler in RF.
Say what you want about Scott Boras, but he gets his players the money….
Justin Upton is two years younger than Bourn. IMHO, Cleveland bought a chunk of Bourn’s decline, Atlanta bought little if any of Upton’s.