If there’s one thing we know about Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, it’s his ability to stay loyal to his veterans, at some points to a fault. When other managers may see a struggling player and decide to take him out of the lineup regardless of how long he’s been in the league, Francona usually shows more patience.
Take center fielder Michael Bourn, for example. Bourn was brought to Cleveland during the 2013 offseason, used as an example of Tribe management no longer falling under the “cheap” label fans had so often given them. Expected to provide speed both in the outfield and on the base-path, Bourn was signed to a four-year, $48 million deal.
Two seasons later, Bourn is making some wonder if the Indians are having buyer’s remorse.
Brought in with hope he could be a reliable leadoff man on offense, Bourn is now lucky if he’s placed anywhere higher than eighth in the batting order. He’s currently hitting just .238, and despite a decent spurt in May, Bourn just appears lost at the plate way too often. It could be seen last night when, with two men on in the bottom of the ninth and his team down three runs to the Tampa Bay Rays, Bourn struck out looking to end the game.
It all brings us back to the opening of this article, discussing Francona and his appreciation for his vets. Bourn is one of those veteran players, and he’s currently stinking up the joint on a team which is in severe need of offensive production. So, it begs the question; just how much longer can Francona stick with Bourn before the lack of contribution becomes too much to handle?