The Cleveland Indians have had a very interesting offseason. Almost as much as the loaded-up Toronto Blue Jays and the loaded-down Miami Marlins.
The Indians are somewhere in the middle, but in a head-scratching way. Because some of their moves look desperate, and some look really aggressive.
Their outfield became completely revamped Monday with the addition of Michael Bourn, who is going to get $12 million per season to play center field for the Indians. He's an aging speedster -- not a great combination -- but plays outstanding defense (a hotter commodity these days) and has a little pop in his bat.
The holdup for Bourn, one of the final big-name free agents to come off the board, was draft compensation. The New York Mets were in the mix and apparently had the framework of a deal, but there's some dispute on whether they would have to give up their first-round pick (No. 11 overall) as compensation. The Indians' first-round pick is protected, so only a competitive-balance pick (No. 69 overall) will be surrendered.
The Indians haven't been major players in free agency for years, so getting some middle-tier guys is at least a sign to fans that the front office is trying.
Bourn joins free agent pickup Nick Swisher and Drew Stubbs in the free-swinging outfield, which could leave Michael Brantley as the odd man out, or create a platoon situation with himself and Stubbs. (Hard to believe the Indians essentially traded Shin-Soo Choo for Trevor Bauer and a platoon outfielder.) The Indians' other major pickup was Mark Reynolds, who will play first base and strike out a lot, as he always does. Swisher could also move to first base or DH. And they also, for some reason, signed 42-year-old former MVP Jason Giambi, who can't have much left in his tank.
But with Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera in the lineup, this is a team that will be able to hit a little when it makes contact. But will it make up for a rotation of the underachieving Justin Masterson, the really underachieving Ubaldo Jimenez, veteran Brett Myers and a bunch of kids? Heck, on Sunday the Indians signed Daisuke Matsuzaka. With this group, he's practically an ace.
Looks like a lot of 8-6 losses are in the cards in Cleveland.