I have been ignoring all of the talk about the Mets possibly signing Michael Bourn; it just seemed like something that was never going to happen. But now multiple reports say it is a very real possibility.
Fox Sports midget Ken Rosenthal tweeted Thursday morning that sources say the Mets interest is “sincere,” and that any contract would be heavily backloaded. Another source (the same source?) told the New York Post that the Mets chances of landing Bourn are “realistic.”
The most promising reports, however, come from John Harper of the Daily News, who said the Mets are talking to Major League Baseball about the possibility of only having to surrender a second round pick if they sign Michael Bourn.
A little background on this — under the new free agent compensation system, only the first 10 picks of the draft are protected, meaning a team that signs a free agent can not lose its pick if it is in the top 10; instead, it would lose its second round pick.
The Mets have the 11th pick. They would have had the 10th pick, but the Pirates failed to sign their first round pick in 2012, so they get a pick in the 2013 draft a slot lower than the 2012 pick. That bumped the Mets to 11th.
If the Mets are successful in keeping their first round pick, I could see the Bourn signing happening. If not, I don’t think it will come to pass. Sandy Alderson has said repeatedly that he does not want to sacrifice first round draft picks. Then again, he promised to acquire players, and that hasn’t happened, so…
Bourn also has to lower his demands if he hopes to play in Flushing. He is reported to be looking for a five-year, $75 million deal. That is more than the Mets will likely want to spend, and frankly, more than he is worth. Bourn is very good — he is the prototypical speedy leadoff hitter and has won two Gold Gloves in center field — but is he a difference-maker? I don’t think so.
I could see the Mets giving him three years in the $12 million per year range, but not much more than that.
Having said all of this, I’ll bet someone meets his asking price; perhaps the Rangers, who lost out on Justin Upton. Did I mention Michael Bourn’s agent is Scott Boras, who always seems to get the asking price for his clients?
Even though it looks like the Mets will mount a serious effort for Bourn, the guess here is that he will not roam center field at Citi Field in 2013 and beyond.