How Does Michael Bourn Play Into The Mets Endgame?

San Francisco Giants v Atlanta Braves

The Mets community is having a field day with Michael Bourn these days. I figured I might as well chime in too.

First, let’s establish the basics:

  • The Mets will (most likely) lose the 11th pick in the 2013 first-year player draft if they sign Bourn.
  • Michael Bourn is a Scott Boras client. If the Mets were to sign Bourn, he’s probably going to get a deal in the five-year range.
  • Justin Upton being off the market will drive up the price for Bourn.

Now that we’re all on the same page, we can talk about how desperate Bourn is making the Mets look.

I’ll be the first to admit—Bourn makes the Mets better. That isn’t saying much considering the Mets’ outfield situation. Scott Hairston would have made the Mets better too.

For a team that’s “rebuilding,” the Mets sure seem gung-ho about giving away a valuable pick to get Bourn. Signing him would be like covering a leak in a boat with a Band-Aid instead of taking it back to the dock to fix properly. Patience is a virtue.

Bourn is a 30-year-old that relies too much on speed offensively and defensively. In the last two years, Bourn’s batting average and stolen bases have dropped (2011 – .294 and 61 / 2012 – .274 and 42) while his strikeouts have gone up (2011 – 140 / 2012 – 155). His career on-base percentage is .339, which isn’t great for a leadoff hitter. By the time the Mets develop all this talent they have, they’ll be paying Bourn $20 million or more to wear a jersey. Sound familiar?

To get Bourn, the Mets will most likely have to sign him to a backloaded deal. Have they learned anything? I’m all for making the team better, but at what price? Bourn isn’t the missing piece to a 2013 Mets championship. If he plays poorly after a couple years, the Mets won’t even be able to trade him elsewhere. Sound even more familiar? It’s a lose-lose.

If the Mets sign him, they get another left-handed outfielder lacking power. Great. I was worried they were running out of those. Maybe they can lock up Grady Sizemore too.

The Mets should let Kirk Nieuwenhuis play. Maybe he’ll put things together and become a legitimate starter or maybe he won’t. It’s a gamble, but it’s no worse than signing Bourn to a five-year $75 million backloaded deal and crossing our fingers hoping he doesn’t get old. I’d rather take my chances with the former.

If rebuilding is the plan, then stick to it. No more short-term fixes.

What are your thoughts?