Lots of people were talking about the Michael Bourn signing today. Others were still talking about some of the moves the Indians made earlier this winter. I figured this was a good opportunity to bring all of the whispers from today together in one spot.
- Nick Piecoro from AZCentral Sports reported that shortstop Didi Gregorius, one of the primary players in the Trevor Bauer/Shin-Soo Choo deal that went from the Reds to the Diamondbacks, has a slight strain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Players get injured all of the time, you may wonder why I think this is even worth mentioning. That’s because D-Backs GM Kevin Towers admitted that the team did not perform a physical on Gregorius before finalizing the deal in December. Piecoro was told that it’s somewhat common for teams to avoid physicals if there were no warning signs on a player’s medical records, and Gregorius did not report the injury until after the trade. (He also looked healthy in the Arizona Fall League championship game.) Indians fans should be thankful there was no physical, just in case this elbow strain was an ongoing issue. It could have thrown a wrench into the deal – either the Diamondbacks could have asked for additional (or different) players, or they could have pulled out of the trade completely. Now, Gregorius’s elbow is their problem.
- Also in the news today was the fact that Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero ripped Bauer to the press for his inability to listen to advice, and his overall arrogance. After Montero completed his Bauer rant, he added “Good luck to Carlos Santana.” Craig Calcaterra at NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk had a great analysis of the situation, as well as a good discussion on why a young player like Bauer may end up with a certain degree of confidence bordering on arrogance. When asked about it on Twitter later, Bauer sidestepped Montero’s comments and praised the concept of free speech. I have to agree with the point made in that link – even if Montero’s comments were 100 percent true, Bauer looks like the more mature player by refusing to air the dirty laundry in the media.
There was a lot of reaction around baseball to the Bourn signing, from both the media and players. Here are some of the comments from players, some from the Indians (courtesy of Paul Hoynes from the Plain Dealer), some not (courtesy of other sources):
- Nick Swisher – Swisher is excited about the signing and seems open to moving out of the outfield if necessary.
- Chris Perez – He thinks the signing makes the Indians feel like a “big market club.” Don’t forget, Perez ripped the Dolans last year for their unwillingness to spend.
- Vinnie Pestano – It seems like Pestano was just as surprised as the rest of us.
- Michael Brantley – He said he’s excited to meet Bourn and is willing to move where the Indians need him to. This is very diplomatic of Brantley, because I know that his preference is to play center field. While you have to be excited to see the team get better, it has to sting a little to know that you’ll have to move from your favored position. It is nice to think that there are several on this roster now that can play center field if necessary. Last year, the only true backup if Brantley was injured was Aaron Cunningham (until Ezequiel Carerra was called up).
- Brett Myers – Myers played with Bourn in Houston and said it’s fun to watch him run down balls in the outfield, and fun to watch him run the bases.
- Justin Masterson – He also seems surprised about the signing, but loves the surplus in the outfield now.
- CC Sabathia – Courtesy of Danny Knobler from CBS Sports - “I never got a free agent like that when I was there. Good for them.”
- Victor Martinez – Courtesy of Anthony Castrovince from MLB.com - “Wow,” he said. “I guess they want to win now, huh? How ’bout that?” Martinez continued by pointing to Tigers catcher Alex Avila and saying “We’ve got some policemen who give tickets to people who go from first to second.” He obviously feels confident in Avila’s ability to keep Bourn from running wild on the base paths.
Castrovince also pointed out that the Indians’ 4 year/$48 million deal with Bourn is backloaded – he’ll make $7 million in 2013, $13.5 million in 2014 and 2015, and $14 million in 2016. This means that it could benefit the Indians if they decide to trade him down the road, as Bourn’s more expensive years will come later in the contract.
Any More Moves?
After some of the shock has worn off, everyone is wondering if the Indians have any more moves up their sleeves. Will they now go after Kyle Lohse as well, as Jose Canseco was still advocating today? Will they trade some of their outfield surplus, in the form of either Drew Stubbs or Michael Brantley? After yesterday’s shocker, I don’t think you can completely rule anything out at this point. However, Buster Olney claims he was told that the Indians will not be going after Lohse. As far as a trade goes, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com said that Stubbs is “eminently available” and “very likely the odd man out.” On the other hand, Paul Hoynes said that it doesn’t sound as if the Bourn signing would prompt a trade by the Indians. (I tend to trust the local guy on this one.) As I mentioned in the comment to another post, I think that if any trades were to take place, they would happen later in spring training. That way teams have a chance to take stock of any surplus and decide what players they’re willing to move. One move the Indians may make soon – they’re supposedly interested in signing utility guy Ryan Theriot. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Indians and Rangers are both interested, and Theriot would like to go where he will get the most playing time. He may end up squeezed in both places though.
Last and certainly not least – if you’re itching to see some pictures from the workouts in Goodyear, take a look at some of the shots on Cleveland.com