Bourn agrees to Indians deal
Michael Bourn has found a home — and it’s Cleveland, of all places.
The Indians stunned the baseball world Monday night, reaching agreement with the All-Star outfielder on a four-year, $48 million contract.
Bourn, 30, also will be guaranteed a fifth year at $12 million if he reaches 550 plate appearances in 2016, bringing the potential value of his package to $60 million.
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 RBI and 42 steals last season for the Braves.
The addition of Bourn will mark the Indians’ second major free-agent signing of the offseason. Earlier, the team agreed with outfielder Nick Swisher on a four-year, $56 million contract.
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 will lead off for the Indians and play center field. Swisher will be in right and Michael Brantley in left, leaving Drew Stubbs as a likely fourth outfielder. A trade of Brantley or Stubbs also is possible.
The Indians have been active the entire winter, also adding Stubbs and right-hander Trevor Bauer in trades, right-hander Brett Myers and first baseman Mark Reynolds as free agents and designated hitter Jason Giambi and right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka on minor league deals.
Bourn lingered on the market after his previous team, the Atlanta Braves, had made him a one-year, $13.3 qualifying offer, subjecting him to draft-pick compensation.
Some teams were reluctant to lose a pick for Bourn and pay him market value. But the Indians, after signing Swisher, were uniquely positioned to strike.
The Indians hold the No. 5 pick overall, and teams in the top 10 cannot lose their first rounder. Swisher cost them their second-rounder, and Bourn will cost them their next pick — one of the new, competitive-balance selections, approximately No. 69 overall. The Indians will retain their third rounder, approximately No. 80 overall.
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. He 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.
Bourn, a two-time All-Star, Gold Glove winner and three-time steals lead in the NL, had also been pursued by the New York Mets
The Indians collapsed in the second half last season, a fall that cost manager Manny Acta his job. Cleveland has lost at least 90 games in three of the past four seasons.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.