February 11, 2013

This afternoon, I decided to check in on some of the most recent Michael Bourn rumors.  Even though he’d yet to sign anywhere, it seemed like talks were really heating up with the Mets.  This was not surprising to me; after all, I expected he would end up there eventually despite my secret desire that he’d somehow, someway end up in Cleveland. Fast forward to this evening – I decided to hop on Twitter for a few minutes to check on spring training news and to look for pictures  of players standing around playing catch (cut me some slack, I’ll take anything baseball-related at this point).  I saw a bunch of Indians fans talking about Bourn and thought, “Sigh. I’d like that too, but let’s be optimistic folks.”  When I realized it was actually true, I was rendered completely and utterly speechless.

I spent a good 5-10 minutes walking in circles around my house, clutching my Ipad as if it was some kind of life line.  I wasn’t even looking at it anymore, just holding it while pacing around in circles, mouth breathing.  (In my defense, my jaw was on the floor, so mouth breathing seemed instinctive).  It’s probably been about 40 minutes since I first heard the news, and I still don’t even know what to say.  Is this the same team whose only major offseason moves last year included the signing of Casey Kotchman on a one-year deal, and a trade for Derek Lowe?  The same team that started the 2012 season with a rotating left field platoon that consisted of Shelley Duncan and Aaron Cunningham?  A team that usually fills out the 25-man roster with players they claim off the scrap heap on minor league deals?

Even though there are things on this roster that still concern me (unless Bourn is also going to play as a starting pitcher), this has to be one of the best Tribe offseasons of the past 5-10 years.  As I always say with other teams (since other teams are usually the ones making all of the moves) you don’t pick a division champion based on the strength of the team’s offseason moves.  You do still have to play the games, and questions with the starting pitching still remain.  After the miserable end to last season, it just feels good to be happy about something involving the Indians.  If nothing else, both Bourn and Swisher are fun players to watch, and should bring a new energy to the team

I don’t know how the Indians were able to pull all of this off.  Perhaps the sale of STO had something to do with the spending spree, perhaps the presence of Terry Francona played a role.  Scott Kazmir recently mentioned that he had several offers, but was drawn to the Indians because Francona was the manager.  The fact that the bottom fell out of Bourn’s market really helped the Indians as well.  I thought Bourn would get something at least in the ballpark of 5 years/$75 million, rather than the 4 years/$48 million the Indians will pay.  I think this is an excellent deal, especially when you think about what the Braves gave B.J. Upton after letting Bourn walk – 5 years/$75 million.  In 2012, the 28-year-old Upton hit .246/.298/.454 with 28 home runs and 31 stolen bases and had a 2.6 bWAR.  Compare that to the 30-year-old Bourn, who hit .274/.348/.391 with 9 home runs and 42 stolen bases and had a 6.0 bWAR.  Bourn is slightly older with a bit less power, but I’m not sure if Upton is worth $27 million more.

The Indians have a number of options at this point.  They could put Bourn, Swisher and Michael Brantley in the outfield while using Drew Stubbs as a fourth outfielder (or they could trade Stubbs).  They could put Bourn-Brantley-Stubbs in the outfield and move Swisher to first, and Mark Reynolds to DH.  It’s almost the exact opposite of last year; rather than thinking “who is the least terrible person we can stick in left?” you instead have an embarrassment of riches.  As an Indians fan, my brain isn’t quite sure how to process such an abundance.




  • Chris Burnham says:


  • Swift says:

    Wow! I’m shocked. They must be printing money at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      My friend and I were walking around University Circle today and he found a dollar on the ground. Maybe money is growing around the city? Maybe they found more than a dollar?

  • Braden says:

    I literally almost fell off my treadmill when I read this. I believe this was done in order to flip a player (Brantley or Stubbs) for a SP. Heres an interesting (perhaps crazy) thought: Might the Tribe turn around and flip Bourn for a top tier SP? I say this because teams were weary of taking him because they did not want to lose a first-round pick. however now that Cleveland eats that pick, Bourn’s value rises quite a bit. I think they could get a quality rotation guy for him. Thoughts?

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      The definitely could flip someone now, but I personally think it could be Stubbs. Who knows at this point though…they completely had me fooled on this Bourn signing. I could usually see their moves coming a mile away, but I never saw this one. They could have something else up their sleeves.

  • Thomas says:

    Wow best surprise I’ve gotten in a while! All of a sudden I feel like a wild card spot is in reach!

  • Jeremy C says:

    Ah and there is keith law to ruin my mood.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      It’s not too bad though. I mean, we know Detroit will be tough and that the Indians will need their pitchers to do well to succeed. Spring training should be fun, watching everything come together.

  • Chris Burnham says:

    That’s what he lives for, though. He’s the guy who tells four year-olds that Santa isn’t real and your puppies will all die of worms.

  • joey says:

    Nice! i cant believe im gonna say this,but ownership and the front office have done a great job this winter! thanx Paul,Mark,Chris,and Terry…cant wait to buy some more tix for this year!

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I’m really looking forward to spring training games too. It will really be interesting to see all of this start to come together.

  • joey says:

    The more i think about it…this could arguably be the most productive winter/off season in the history of the franchise! not just the last 10 yrs.

  • Cadfael says:

    This might just be me being extraordinarily greedy (this offseason has been awesome so far), but is there any chance we open that wallet just a teensy bit wider and take a crack at Lohse?

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      While I love the way you’re thinking, I’m just not as big on Lohse as everyone else. I guess I’m just a little wary of him returning to the AL, where his stats were much worse than the NL.

  • Steve Alex says:

    I am totally stunned and impressed. I thought getting Bourn was a pipe dream. I still can’t believe it. We have a really good lineup now, a complete team. I can’t remember the last time I said that. And there is enough starting pitching depth to fill a competent rotation. We might not have a true or dominant #1, but there are plenty of good arms with talent and upside even if a couple of them falter. I have been very critical of the team and negative for the last three years, but I am on board the Tito Express now. Win or lose, ownership and management are making a legitimate attempt now and that is all we can ask for. The energy level alone will be much higher, both with players and fans. It’s a good day to be a Tribe fan.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      I think they’ve created a lot of good will. I’ve even seen a few people say that they called and bought partial season plans today. If there really is a rush on tickets, it makes me glad I got mine back in October!

  • Mary Jo says:

    I do not know who stole Dolan’s checkbook, kidnapped Antonetti and locked him and a bottle of his 12-year-old favorite adult beverage up and said “spend, man!”, but I would happily break my own bank and take him/her out to Lola’s or Greentree Tavern to celebrate. Like the rest of you I’m stunned, excited, and definitely looking forward to this comiing season. May not win many more, probably won’t win it all, but will have more fun listening to these games than the last couple of years. Gonna be a fun ride – strap on your helmets!

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      HA! You know, I always say that a team doesn’t have to necessarily contend for me to enjoy watching them. (Although it’s nice) A team can win 75-80 games and still be fun to watch…and I do think this will be a fun team to watch, regardless of their record.

  • DaveR says:

    This is quite a different feeling than Shapiro telling us to stay home. We all know the Central is wide open. Maybe the Indians can hang onto several game lead in August now.

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      That second wild card spot could theoretically end up going to a team in the central. The only thing that worries me is that everyone in the AL West is strong except for Seattle and Houston. With the other three beating up on those two, it could help to inflate their win totals.

  • Charles says:

    I would like to reiterate Cadfael’s question. I just read an article that claimed that now was the time to go after Lohse. What are the chances that the tribe makes one final big offseason move to sign FA Kyle Lohse? (or any starting pitcher for that matter whether through free agency or trade)

    • Stephanie Liscio says:

      Supposedly the Indians claim they will not be signing Lohse, and they will not be trading anyone. We all know that teams may say things like that, then turn around and do it anyway! As I mentioned above, I’m not as big on Lohse as everyone else just because I’m worried about his performance back in the AL. That’s not to say that it still wouldn’t be worth it to sign him if his price drops enough.

      As far as a trade, if it were to happen, I’d see it happening a bit later in spring training. Teams usually wait to see how things are shaping up before they trade surplus. That’s just my opinion though, and I could be wrong!

  • Mike says:

    We can’t be getting too greedy and ask for Kyle Loshe on top of all this can we? I mean, I am starting to feel like the Yankees during their free spending days. But I must admit, getting Loshe would certainly shore up our rotation a little bit better than the duct tape and glue which is currently holding it together.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    There’s no reason not to be greedy…we’re making up for lost time after all of the seasons of Kotchman/Dellucci/etc. type of signings!

  • Ken From Atlanta says:

    Wait a second why can’t we be greedy..These young players have time to burn but us older fans need wins now, lol..By the way whatever happened to the Pat Coralles perpetual contract?