A bit of surprising news on the free agency trail today: The Indians are reportedly on the short list of teams “in the market” for OF Michael Bourn, according to a tweet from ESPN and XM analyst Jim Bowden.
Michael Bourn’s market includes: Sea, Cleve, Mia, Phil, NYM, TX
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 21, 2012
Tony Lastoria, writer for the newly rebranded Indians Baseball Insider, followed up to Bowden’s tweet to say that the Indians reportedly were interested in trading for Bourn at the deadline in 2011. This is the first his name has been connected heavily to Cleveland this offseason, as the Tribe usually has been related to their courting of OSU alumnus Nick Swisher.
But, Bourn is significantly younger and likely a better fit for a possible long-term deal than Swisher. A soon-to-be 30-year-old speedster, he batted .274/.349/.391 with 26 doubles, 10 triples, 9 homers and 42 steals in 155 games for Atlanta in 2012. The 6.0 WAR was the best of his career, but he notably also produced a 4.7 and 5.3 in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
The Phillies, Rangers and Mariners, also on Bourn’s short list, have been rumored to be in the market to spend money on a marquee outfielder this season. So the Indians are likely a long-shot for now — especially if Swisher’s power is indeed their preference — but it’s no doubt intriguing to see they’ve thrown their hat in the race.
[Related: The Pitch To Swish]