Okay, so raise your hand if you saw this one coming: Monday evening, Jon Heyman reported that free-agent center fielder Michael Bourn is signing with the Cleveland Indians for four years and $48 million, with a vesting option that could make the deal five years and $60 million.
Bourn spent last season with the Atlanta Braves, and his outstanding first half -- .311/.366/.451, with 30 extra-base hits -- got him an All-Star nod. But Bourn slumped badly in the second half, batting .225 with only 15 long hits; those numbers probably cost him a great deal of money this winter, and left him unemployed until the eve of spring training.
The Indians have completely re-made their outfield this winter: trading Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds and acquiring Drew Stubbs; signing free agent Nick Swisher; and now signing Bourn, too. The Indians do still have Michael Brantley, who might serve in a left-field platoon with Stubbs.
This is all very heady stuff for the Indians, who lost 94 games last season while finishing 13th in the American League in both scoring and attendance. The club still has a pitching rotation full of question marks, but at least the Indians figure to score a few more runs this season.
Update: Word out of Cleveland (or maybe Goodyear) is that Brantley will play left field, Bourn center, and Stubbs right, with Swisher at first base and Mark Reynolds DHing.