So the focus Thursday has turned to the Mets 11th pick in the first round of the June draft, and whether they should have to surrender it if they sign Michael Bourn. What exactly is this all about, and what are the Mets chances of succeeding in their stance that the pick should be protected?
The new free agency compensation rules state that the first 10 picks of the draft are protected, so if one of those teams signs a free agent who is connected to compensation, they would lose a second round pick instead. Another rule states that if a team fails to sign their first round pick, they get an additional pick in the following years draft, a slot lower than the pick they failed to sign.
Now, the Mets had the 10th worst record in baseball in 2012, so they get the 10th pick in the 2013 draft. But the Pirates did not sign their first round pick, so they will now get the ninth pick in this June’s draft, knocking the Mets down to 11th — an unprotected slot.
The Mets are said to be appealing to MLB, saying their pick should be protected because it would have been the 10th pick. This would allow them to sign Bourn and give up their second round pick. It certainly seems like the Mets have a legitimate argument.
The Mets have supporters in this fight. The Players Association is backing them (although the union is biased. More competition for Bourn will likely result in a higher salary). And the Mets could have the law on their side. Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com tweeted on Thusrday:
Legal expert who works with MLB says he believes Mets wouldn’t have to relinquish 11th pick if they signed Bourn.
However, in a tweet of his own, Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal quoted an MLB spokesman who said, “Our understanding of the basic agreement is that the Mets would lose the No. 11 draft pick.”
This decision will likely determine whether the Mets sign Bourn. The Mets are extremely hesitant, and with good reason, to give up a first rounder. This is going to be interesting to watch. It’s never easy with the Mets, is it?