July 24, 2014

Report: Indians in the market for OF Michael Bourn

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.

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]

Jim Bowden: Cleveland’s Kipnis, Cabrera are likely AL All-Stars

Sure, the MLB All-Star Game is still about a month away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t begin speculating about the possible Cleveland All-Stars this season. For starters, ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden has him complete roster projection online today (insider). On his AL All-Star bench are two Indians infielders:

Second base: Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians; Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers
The former Arizona State Sun Devil has demonstrated speed and power and perhaps the most consistent second baseman in the league…Kinsler edges out Dustin Pedroia, but if Pedroia gets hot over the next couple of weeks after returning to the Red Sox lineup he could edge out Kinsler.

Shortstop: Asdrubral Cabrera, Cleveland Indians
Cabrera leads all shortstops in OPS and highlight film plays edging out Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy and Texas’ Elvis Andrus.

Certainly, Kipnis (.279/.340/.447) and Cabrera (.296/.385/.468) are having impressive seasons and likely are worthy of the bid at this point in time. I doubt however that both will make it. Another name to, consider is closer Chris Perez, ye of 2.70 ERA and 19 consecutive saves since his Opening Day blunder.

It’s pretty clear that the Indians’ stars won’t be getting the necessary fan votes to start in the game, so my guess is we’ll likely have no more than two players total competing in Kansas City on July 10. The rosters will be unveiled initially on July 1, with final voting for a last player in each league taking place from July 1-5.

[Related: Tigers 7 Indians 5: Comeback Comes Up Just Short]