The Bourn Ultimatum: Should We Or Shouldn’t We?

An article by posted on January 24, 2013

michael bourn

The Mets want Michael Bourn, but not at the risk of losing their first round draft pick according to John Harper of the Daily News. No surprise there, but even if they could get MLB to protect their pick, are they suddenly going to splurge with the money it would take to sign the Scott Boras client?

Or is this just another attempt to dupe fans into thinking that the Mets can still act like a big market team even though in the end it’s just much ado about nothing?

Harper hints that if Sandy Alderson and the Mets don’t do something about their current outfield the joke may be on the GM and not the outfield.

If the Mets somehow find a way to sign Michael Bourn in the coming days, thereby assuring themselves of fielding at least one honest-to-goodness major league outfielder in 2013, then surely fans will feel better about Sandy Alderson’s rather edgy sense of humor. Until then, a thicker skin might be in order.

For the moment, Bourn-to-the-Mets still seems like a longshot. But two people in the organization on Wednesday indicated that the ballclub has significant interest in signing the free-agent center fielder — at the right price.

With Justin Upton now off the market, the Rangers, Orioles and Mariners may also be shifting their attention to Bourn and will pursue him aggressively. That will drive the price up not down.

Assuming the Mets don’t get that pick protected, I like the argument against Bourn that Jon Presser of The Shea Faithful posted last night. It’s quite convincing.

If they were to sign Bourn, the Mets would forfeit not only their first round pick, but also the allotted money for that pick, which could cripple their entire draft.

The way the MLB Draft works now, teams are given a capped budget for their first ten picks of a given draft, a non-negotiable figure that cannot be exceeded under any circumstances.

Last year, the Mets had a total budget of roughly $7 million, and their top pick was valued at about $2.55 million, or 35% of their total budget.

While those numbers may be different in 2013, it’s reasonable to expect that their top pick will be roughly 25-35% of their total budget. That’s a lot to give up for Michael Bourn.

Signing Bourn would essentially mean forfeiting a high draft pick and potentially a third or so of their total draft budget. Bourn is simply not worth giving up all of that.

It’s hard to ignore the impact signing Bourn will have on the Mets draft later this June. It’s more than just the pick itself.

Still, Bourn remains the last available outfielder that would represent a significant improvement over what the Mets have now. But here are the pros and cons as I see them:

Pros

  1. Bourn will represent the first real improvement to the major league team. Not a bad thing for a GM who promised significant changes back in October. He’ll go straight into the leadoff spot.
  2. His price may have gone down recently to a 3-4 year demand rather than a 5-6 year demand.
  3. He’s a gold glove caliber defender and would pay big dividends on that alone. Imagine that – a real outfielder.
  4. His speed would be a welcomed addition to a team that was ranked among the bottom in stolen bases last season. Comes in handy when you keep feeding the fans your goal is to build the team around pitching, defense and speed.

Cons

  1. Bourn bats lefthanded as do Duda, Nieuwenhuis and Baxter. He gives the Mets a lineup that is overly lefthanded to a fault.
  2. Bourn’s biggest asset is his speed and he’ll soon be on the wrong side of 30. The legs are the first thing to go.
  3. He will cost the Mets a pick. Whether it’s a first or second round pick has yet to be decided.
  4. His on-base skills are not as good as you would like to see for what will be his high price tag.

Did I miss anything?

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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