Michael Bourn: Adding Veteran Center Fielder Doesn't Make Sense for Indians

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 06:  Michael Bourn #24 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after he struck out swinging with bases loaded in the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on September 6, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IFebruary 11, 2013

The Cleveland Indians are coming off a 68-94 season and haven't made many big splashes in free agency in the past decade.

In that sense, it may have been an encouraging sign for fans when the Indians reportedly forked over big bucks to land veteran center fielder Michael Bourn on Monday.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Indians inked Bourn to a four-year, $48 million deal. If he posts 550 plate appearances in 2016, another year and another $12 million could be tacked on to the contract.

It doesn't make sense to me.

Bourn isn't going to make the Indians an instant playoff contender. Neither are free-agent acquisitions Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds and Jason Giambi.


Because the pitching staff is still a question mark.

Ubaldo Jimenez has been a nightmare since he arrived in Cleveland in 2011. Right-hander Justin Masterson has had one good season as a starter since joining the Indians in 2009. And free-agent signings Brett Myers and Daisuke Matsuzaka will both turn 33 years old next season (Matsuzaka posted an 8.28 ERA last season).

Dealing for 22-year-old right-hander Trevor Bauer was a step in the right direction if they were trying to develop a strong squad over time, but it's almost as if they switched philosophies after that trade.

The fact of the matter is, these veterans won't make the Indians an immediate playoff contender, so what's the point? It's like they're trying to make moves just to prove they are committed to the ballclub. 

But even if the franchise is committed to the ballclub, it isn't spending its money wisely, and that's just as bad.

There's no question that Bourn is a solid baseball player, but he doesn't fit into what the Indians should be doing. That is, acquiring young talent to make a playoff push down the road.


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