Speaking to USA Today, two separate sources with “direct knowledge of the contract negotiations” revealed the deal would be finalized once Bourn completes a medical.
Thirty-year-old free agent Bourn was being watched by a number of teams including the New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, and Texas Rangers. The outfielder was originally pursuing a six- or seven-year deal, but, when the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies each acquired center fielders from the Minnesota Twins, the player’s value dropped.
Bourn could boost the value of his new Indians contract to $60 million over five years should he reach 550 plate appearances by 2016.
In the meantime, with Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs on the Indians roster, some shuffling may be required.
USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale reports that the team will shift right fielder Nick Swisher to first base (Swisher is going nowhere, having already put pen to paper on a four-year, $56 million free-agent contract in December). Alternatively, center fielder Stubbs could be traded, with Bourn slotting into his vacated position.
For the Indians, the acquisition of Bourn may well mark the pinnacle of one of the team’s busiest winters for years. Along with Bourn, the team snapped up starter Trevor Bauer from the Arizona Diamondbacks and signed free agents Brett Myers, infielder Mark Reynolds, designated hitter and pinch-hitter Jason Giambi, and veteran starter Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Check out Michael Bourn’s best moments of 2012 in the footage below. Could this prove a key signing for the Indians?