Michael Bourn heading off to Cleveland wraps up the third offseason under Sandy Alderson in which no big time free-agent acquisitions were made. Each time pitchers and catchers report under his regime, we watch as another season unfurls minus another core Met and no star-power added to replace what was lost.
Last winter, the key free agent frenzy that went to no avail had a more personal loss when we saw Jose Reyes take his talents to South Beach and most recently Toronto. However in this instance, losing out on Bourn still hurts, and the hole left by failing to acquire him remains ever-gaping. Unlike the pursuit –or lack there of–of Reyes, the Mets reportedly offered Bourn a contract, similar to the one that he has agreed to with Cleveland. The only issue became the arbitration case regarding whether the Mets could retain their first-round draft pick or not. The process for the case would have taken roughly 2-3 weeks, which was too long for Bourn to wait, so he took the Indians deal instead.
Many are commending Alderson for trying to obtain a big-name free agent and a willingness to spend money, however that should not be the case. There are no participation medals when it comes to free agency, you either win or lose; and the Mets lost.
What many forget about this draft pick was that the Mets have had since October to file this grievance to allow them to have their first-round pick protected should they sign a big-name free agent. However they waited, and waited, and waited; and as a result they got burned by their own waiting game.
They also tried to wait it out on Scott Boras, who is well-versed in a waiting game of his own. He informed the Mets that he had other offers, perhaps even better offers than theirs, and the Mets thought they were calling his bluff. However in actuality, he had a royal flush in his hand, and walked away from the table with all the chips in hand.
The Mets tried to outsmart Scott Boras, Michael Bourn and MLB; and they failed. At least it was refreshing to see them make a half-hearted run at a big-time free agent and show some sign of a willingness to spend again. It was better than Alderson’s handy-dandy box of chocolates, however the results are the same.