According to a number of major league reporters, the Cleveland Indians have signed free agent center fielder Michael Bourn, who was rumored to be a target of the Mets for some time.
Bourn will receive $48 million over four years with a chance to have a fifth year (that also at $12 million) kick in if he has at least 550 at-bats during year four of the contract.
The Indians will surrender a draft pick in the second sandwich round (they already gave up a second round pick when they signed Nick Swisher) and will lose the bonus pool money associated with that pick.
From the Mets’ perspective, this was probably best when looking at the long term. The Mets really don’t have a great chance to compete for a playoff spot in 2013 – Washington, Atlanta and Philadelphia are all better teams at this point – so adding Bourn at $12 million per year would have just been a sunk cost. The Mets’ outfield in 2013 will likely be atrocious, but it’s probably best in the long run.
Also, the Mets would have likely had to surrender the No. 11 pick in the June draft as well as the bonus money associated with that pick, which would have been 40 percent of the Mets’ money used to sign players drafted in the first 10 rounds. The Mets save that $60 million they would have spent on Bourn and they’ll also get one of the top 11 young players out there this spring to keep in the farm system for years to come.
From Cleveland’s perspective, it looks like a shrewd move. The Indians look like they’re all-in at this point, having added Swisher, Bourn and Mark Reynolds to an already young and talent-packed lineup. They’ll be scoring some runs this year, no doubt. The question is, will the Indians’ pitching staff hold up? Will first-year manager Terry Francona be able to pull the strings the right way? It will certainly make the AL Central a very competitive division, with Detroit, Chicago and Kansas City all heading in the right direction as well. As for the Twins, well, at least they have a nice new ballpark.
Spring training is already underway for some teams. The Yankees open camp tomorrow. Your thoughts, hopes and predictions for the 2013 season? Let me know on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.