One year ago today, the Indians plucked Michael Bourn off of the free agent market with a four-year, $48MM deal that includes a fifth-year vesting option. The now-31-year-old center fielder had languished on the market, hampered in part by being tied to draft-pick compensation, and ended up with a deal that fell shy of expectations. But Bourn's 2013 season ultimately came up somewhat short as well: missing about 30 games due to injury, Bourn put up a .263/.316/.360 line in 575 plate appearances. He swiped 23 bags, but was caught 12 times attempting a steal, and his often-stellar defense ratings fell towards average. In the end, Bourn was worth only 2.4 rWAR and 2.0 fWAR, his weakest tallies since emerging in 2009. The Cleveland faithful will hope that a bounceback 2014 begins to turn the contract back in the club's favor. Meanwhile, for the remaining free agents that have turned down qualifying offers this time around, Bourn's situation at least shows that a sizeable contract can still be had as camps begin to open.
Here's more out of Cleveland:
- It has been a busy arbitration season for the Indians, who still have two unresolved cases even after winning a hearing against Vinnie Pestano and agreeing to an extension with Michael Brantley to avoid another. One of those — the case with righty Josh Tomlin — will be going to a hearing on Friday, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The sides are separated by less than $200K ($975K vs. $800K), so the stakes tell much more for the player than the team.
- The other remaining arbitration situation involves key starter Justin Masterson, who filed at $11.8MM against a team counter of $8.05MM. As Hoynes reports, Masterson says he will be open to considering long-term extension talks after his 2014 salary is arrived upon. "We'll talk, we'll listen, we'll see," said Masterson, who is set to qualify for free agency next year. "To want to be a part of [the Indians' core] is there, but there is always the temptation in the back of your head as to what comes next."
- Another possible extension candidate in Cleveland is star second baseman Jason Kipnis, who is coming off of a huge 2013 campaign and will qualify for arbitration next year. He tells MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that he would be interested in discussing an extension, indicating that previous talks had taken place and could restart once the above-noted situations are tied up. "Why would I not listen?" Kipnis said. "Yeah, I'm open to hearing what they have to say or what they have to offer. It'd be stupid not to. I know they've got some arbitration cases to finish right now. I think once everything's done with that and the spring starts flowing along, we'll start talking again."
- A re-signing of outgoing Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez will not occur unless "something extreme" takes place, reports Hoynes. Given the value that Cleveland has put on the pick it stands to gain if Jimenez signs elsewhere, as well as the pick it would sacrifice to sign fellow free agent starter Ervin Santana, the club seems unwilling at this point to ink either pitcher.
Why would the indians go after santana
Right? I’d personally rather take Jimenez especially from their point of view
Perhaps that’s why he wrote that “the club seems unwilling at this point to ink either pitcher.”
They were loosely linked recently. Hoynes mentioned it, which is why I included it in the post.
It is not out of the realm of possibility — imagine, say, if the team was happy to come out neutral on picks (none gained, but none lost), preferred Santana, and/or could get him at a great price. The likeliest scenario might be if Jimenez were to sign first, then Cleveland sat around with a lowball offer in case Santana couldn’t do better.
But there hasn’t been much to suggest that CLE is any kind of likely landing spot for Santana.
Huge upside if he is healthy and he would come at a minimum cost. Jimenez will cost a draft pick and the rotation is gonna need help any way you slice it. If Johan stays healthy he would be the best scrap heap move of the off season.
Last year people laughed at me when I whined about signing BJ when Bourn could be had for less….
Not me. With Bourn? What you see is what you get.. A slap hitter who gets on base at a “fairly” solid percentage of the time and will steal a base. With Upton? There was a steady decline in his numbers over a 6 year trend in every offensive category (except speed) and people were STILL enamored over the 5 tool ability he showed that 1 sole season and thinking 1 year it would come back… Ignoring the attitude problems, defensive lapses..
I’d a signed Bourn also bravesnjays and imagine most every Braves fan will be regretting that ill fated deal every year for 4 more years even moreso as he pouts even more over frivolous things, just like he did at Tampa.
I originally said BJ was another Uggla with speed. I now say that I owe Uggla an apology for insulting him by comparing him to BJ. Even I didn’t expect BJ to be as bad…but I always knew 5/75 was an terrible terrible mistake.