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.
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.
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
Getting Bourn will cost the Indians picks in June’s amateur draft.
Bourn 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. Matsuzaka must still pass a physical with the club. 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.