Having already signed a free agent tied to draft pick compensation, and having a protected first round pick, the Cleveland Indians were in a unique position to sign someone like Michael Bourn for “less” than most other teams. He would cost them only their third pick in the draft (a competitive balance pick, just before the third round).
And, according to Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal, they’ve taken advantage of that position by agreeing to terms with the free agent center fielder. The deal, according to Heyman, is for four years and $48 million, plus a vesting option that could tack on another year and another $12 million.
It’s a pretty reasonable deal for Bourn, though far less than he was seeking. The draft pick compensation certainly worked against him, but so did his high strikeout totals, and speed-defined skill set.
It was a funny evening with respect to Bourn and the Cubs, with Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal once again attaching the Cubs to Bourn by way of rumors, and the local writers – most notably Carrie Muskat and Gordon Wittenmyer (by way of a tweet directed at me (#humblebrag)) – saying Bourn to the Cubs simply wasn’t going to happen.
Chalk one up for the local writers.
As for the “loss” of Bourn … it just doesn’t feel like a loss. The deal isn’t outrageous, and I wouldn’t have absolutely hated it, but I don’t see a whole lot of certain surplus value there. He was always an odd fit for the Cubs – he wasn’t going to make the difference between a competitive team in 2013 (or 2014, for that matter), he wouldn’t have been a flippable asset at that price point, and he wouldn’t be a cheap what-the-hell-why-not type signing at that price point, either. That money can be better spent elsewhere after the 2013 season.
To the extent there was any overlap in possible landing spots for Alfonso Soriano or David DeJesus, should the Cubs look to make a trade, Bourn going to the Indians is a decent spot. They weren’t likely to be in on either Cubs player, and now, who knows? Maybe the Mets or Rangers become just a touch more interested.
One bummer about the Indians signing Bourn? Because the pick they lose comes after the Cubs’ second round pick, and because the compensatory pick the Braves pick up comes before the Cubs’ second round pick, the Cubs’ second round pick was just knocked down a spot.