Opening Day is getting closer, and teams are in a flurry trying to make last-minute moves to position themselves for contention come spring.
The Cleveland Indians are undoubtedly one of the busiest teams, signing a slew of big names, most recently Michael Bourn.
However, as we learn almost every year through free agency, all that glitters is not gold.
As a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner, Bourn's credentials are impressive. However, when you look at his production in detail, he leaves much to be desired.
He struck out 295 times in the past two years. That’s way too much, and it can possibly become a liability for the Indians if he cannot produce on a consistent basis.
Even more alarming, his batting average dropped from a very good .311 in the first half of last season to .225 after the All-Star Game.
What excites most people about Bourn, though, is his defensive ability. Bourn is considered to be one of the premier defensive outfielders in all of baseball, and many expect this acquisition to give the Indians the best outfield in the MLB.
However, fielding wasn’t Cleveland’s main problem. Last season, the Indians ranked ninth overall in fielding percentage. They weren’t the best, but the defense obviously wasn’t the reason for their 67-92 record last year.
Cleveland’s offense needs an upgrade, and Bourn’s inconsistency will do very little to help that.
They ranked a mediocre 18th in batting average and 25th in home runs. The offense was the team’s Achilles' heel, and Bourn does more to highlight that than relieve it.
All last year, the fans in Cleveland were begging for a potent right-handed hitter who could light it up. This flaw was exposed in a division with the home run-happy Chicago White Sox and the very good Detroit Tigers.
Bourn’s inability to find a consistent offensive stride will hurt the team, especially in the second half of the season, where he’s been shown to regress.
This year, the AL Central looks to be competitive, and the Indians will need to keep the offense pumping into August and September, when they will probably have to find a way to fight off both the Tigers and the White Sox.
Bourn does not help their offensive problem; he only makes it worse.
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