The Cleveland Indians and free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn have agreed to terms on a four-year deal worth approximately $48 million. The deal also includes a $12 million vesting option for a fifth year. The vesting option is based on Bourn reaching 550 plate appearances during his final year of the contract.
Reggie Von Bartles
Hot Stove: Cleveland To Sign Michael Bourn
Monday February 11th, 2013
In 208 career games with the Atlanta Braves (2011-2012), Bourn hit .275/.341/.381 with 64 stolen bases and 10 home runs. According to Fangraphs.com, Bourn was worth approximately 7.6 fWAR (Wins Above Replacement) during his time in Atlanta.
For his career, Bourn is a .272/.339/.365 hitter with 276 stolen bases. He also stole 61 bases during the 2009 and 2011 seasons respectively. Bourn's value is with the glove in center field, as well as his patience at the plate. Regarding defense, Bourn's been excellent, and among all qualified fielders (3500 innings) from 2010-2012, Borun has the second best UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) at 35.3 - just behind former teammate Jason Heyward (35.7).
The Indians have been busy during the off-season, pulling off a major three-team trade and signing free-agent Mark Reynolds and Nick Swisher, among other moves. Heading into Opening Day 2013, the team currently has an outfield depth chart consisting of Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley, Nick Swisher, and Drew Stubbs. With Bourn penciled in as the everyday starter in center field, Brantley figures to move to left field, with Swisher staying in right field. If the Indians are inclined to give Drew Stubbs playing time, they could move Swisher to first base, which would then move Mark Reynolds to the designated hitter's role. However, based on Stubbs' statistics over his career (29.3 career K%, .312 career on-base percentage) - he could be traded at some point.
I looked at the Indians lineup for Opening Day during the Nick Swisher signing, but here's an updated version. I still have Mike Aviles as the DH, but that could be a platoon/match-up play most of the season.
From a fantasy standpoint, Michael Bourn is a 30-year-old outfielder who relies on his legs to not only play great defense, but steal bases. Regardless of playing for the Indians, Bourn should still be a good bet to hit around the .270-.275 batting average level while posting an on-base percentage that will keep fantasy owners happy. If there's one area where Bourn will see a decrease, it will be in the runs scored department - simply because of the offense behind him. However, with Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana following him in the order, he could still score between 80-90 runs, but it wont be the same as Bourn hitting in the Braves lineup.
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