On Sunday morning, Stubbs smiled upon hearing Francona's comment. Stubbs still considers himself a center fielder, but he is more than willing to accept his new role. Such concessions must be made when a team brings in an elite defender such as Michael Bourn to patrol center.
"When you see they signed a guy like Bourn to the contract he got," Stubbs said, "it's kind of an understood. You see the writing on the wall. I still feel like center field is my position. This year, obviously, I won't be there, but who knows whether I'll be there for a year or five years or whatever.
"It's a thing that I think is going to make this team best and it's what I'm happy to do."
Cleveland acquired Stubbs from Cincinnati as part of December's three-team, nine-player trade that also included Arizona. At the time, it appeared as though Stubbs -- a speedy and defensively sound outfielder -- would play center field, forcing Michael Brantley (also a center fielder by trade) to left. That changed when the Indians signed Bourn earlier this week to a four-year deal worth $48 million.
With Bourn in the fold as the center fielder and leadoff man, Brantley will indeed shift to left and Stubbs will move to right. In 898 professional games between the Majors and Minors, Stubbs has played a corner spot on just nine occasions (five games in left and four in right in the Minor Leagues). He played center in his 481 career games with the Reds.
"I don't think it'll be too tough of a transition," Stubbs said. "I don't have a whole lot of reps out there over the course of my career. A little bit in the Arizona Fall League several years back and a few times in summer league in college. So, I'm not comfortable over there by any means yet. But I don't think it'll take long."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.