From Comcast SportsNetCLEVELAND (AP) -- Criticized for not spending enough on free agents in recent years, the Indians splurged on another star.The club agreed to terms Monday with outfielder Michael Bourn on a four-year, 48 million contract. It's the second major deal this winter for the Indians, who signed free agent Nick Swisher to a four-year, 56 million contract in January.Bourn, who was an All-Star with Atlanta last season, must pass a physical later this week in Goodyear, Ariz., before the deal can be completed. Bourn batted .274 with nine homers, 57 RBIs and 42 steals last season for the Braves. It's not yet known when Bourn will have his medical exam.As long as there isn't a hang-up, the 30-year-old Bourn, who has remained on the market all winter, will move into the Indians' starting lineup. The speedster played center field last season and would give an immediate boost to a Cleveland team that has reloaded with the acquisition of Swisher, manager Terry Francona and starter Brett Myers.Fox Sports first reported Bourn's deal.Bourn, a two-time All-Star, Gold Glove winner and three-time steals leader in the NL, had also been pursued by the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs.Getting Bourn will cost the Indians picks in June's amateur draft. But it's a small price for a player who will help them score more runs, improve their attendance -- Cleveland averaged just 19,797 fans at home -- and maybe even close the gap on Detroit in the AL Central.The surprise signing caught one of Bourn's new teammates off guard."Did we just sign Michael Bourn?" second baseman Jason Kipnis asked on his Twitter page.Bourn, a .272 career hitter in seven seasons with Philadelphia, Houston and Atlanta, could wind up in a starting outfield alongside Swisher and Michael Brantley. The Indians also acquired center fielder Drew Stubbs in a trade with Cincinnati, giving Francona options and depth. It's possible Swisher could be moved to first or even be used as the club's designated hitter. Mark Reynolds, also signed during the offseason, can play first or DH.The deal for Bourn also comes after the Indians signed slugger Jason Giambi and pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to minor league deals this last weekend. Matsuzaka must still pass a physical with the club.The Indians collapsed in the second half last season, finishing 68-94 and 20 games behind the first-place Tigers. Manager Manny Acta was fired after Cleveland lost at least 90 games for the third time in four seasons.But beginning with the hiring of Francona, the Indians have shown they're not going to sit around and wait for things to improve.
The Celtics didn’t know when they traded a late first-round pick and Marcus Thornton for Isaiah Thomas that they were getting their next star player, but that 2015 trade deadline move has proven to be a pleasant surprise.
Appearing on Felger and Mazz Friday, Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he sees Thomas, who will be a free agent after next season, in the team’s longterm plans.
“Every one of these seasons is different. It’s like a movie and you have a cast of characters and the cast changes a little bit every season,” Grousbeck said. “We’d love to have Isaiah here for a long, long time. He’s a phenomenal player and he loves being here.”
The Celtics stand a strong chance of picking first overall in June’s draft since they own Brooklyn’s first-round pick. Asked whether Thomas’ status would prevent the team from taking a point guard (which the draft’s two prospects play), Grousbeck said the team doesn’t need to decide that now, but suggested it wouldn’t.
“Especially if it’s a very high pick in the draft, you’ve got to draft the best player,” Grousbeck said. “You probably wouldn’t draft for fit as much as just you see if there’s a transformational player that you can have for 10 or 15 years there. If you see a guy like that, you’ve got to make everything else work, I would think.”
The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire.
The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead.
On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.
Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.
Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season.
The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.
The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.
The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are.
* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.