Updated at 3:30 PM by Joe D.
Following up on the tiny bit of updates coming in today on the Mets and their pursuit of Michael Bourn, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, believes the Mets’ path is still cloudy.
Maybe the New York Mets can pull the whole thing off and sign free-agent center fielder Michael Bourn without losing their first-round pick, Rosenthal says. “But he Mets’ path to Bourn still might not be clear.”
Other clubs might have greater interest in Bourn than is being reported currently — and those clubs could sign Bourn without needing to wait for the union and baseball to resolve the draft-pick question, potentially in arbitration.
Rosenthal says the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs all have interest.
There also seems to be some growing tension about what Nick Cafardo reported earlier today regarding the MLBPA negotiating with MLB on the Mets behalf to protect the pick. Some are viewing this as unfair to the other teams in the chase.
Updated at 12:00 PM by Joe D.
That is a significant development that could mean the Mets are very well still in the thick of it for gold glove centerfielder Michael Bourn.
I’m starting to believe that this could really happen…
Michael Bourn could very well be the Mets Opening Day centerfielder.
Remember that the Mets have always asserted that they wouldn’t push the protected pick issue unless they negotiations with Bourn had progressed to the point where a deal is very much possible.
There could very well be an offer on the table.
Original Post 2/9
Here are two significant updates from Jim Bowden of ESPN XM Radio:
According to a team source that is involved in the Bourn negotiations, the free agent outfielder is likely to end up with an average annual salary in the $14-15 million dollar range.
“With Victorino getting an average annual salary of $13 million,” Bowden says. “And with Bourn turning down a qualifying offer of $13 million, it only makes sense that he would get north of that.”
A league source also told Bowden that if the Mets were able to sign Michael Bourn, negotiations with the MLBPA will most likely culminate in their first round pick being protected.
This is really going to boil down to whether the Mets and Bourn can come to an agreement, and if those numbers are right, his price really hasn’t come down all that much at all. Scott Boras has been looking for that range of annual dollars all Winter long.
Also, according to Andy Martino of the Daily News, while the Mets remain very motivated to sign free-agent center fielder Michael Bourn, they won’t make a deal if it
- will cost them their first round draft pick.
It turns out that the decision about the draft pick would be in hands of an independent arbitrator, not the commissioner’s office. Here is how the process could work:
The players association could file a grievance on behalf of Bourn, a Type A free agent, at any time before or after he signs a contract.
The union could then argue that since the Mets were the 10th-worst team in baseball in 2012, they should have a protected pick, and be able to sign Bourn without losing it.
I’m not sure if this means the Mets would have to roll the dice and actually sign Bourn before it goes as far as filing a grievance, scheduling an arbitration hearing, and then waiting for a decision to be rendered. It kind of sounds to me that none of this will happen until the Mets actually sign Bourn which would be a gamble that could go either way for the Mets.
Martino says that while the Player’s Union can file a grievance arguing that the Mets were one of the ten worst teams and therefor the pick should be protected, MLB has a solid counter argument on their side:
In a hearing, Major League Baseball could argue that the CBA says nothing about the 10 worst teams deserving a protected pick, no matter how the Mets wish to interpret it.
MLB could also argue that it is unfair to all other teams to allow one club to re-interpret the rules in the middle of the offseason. What if, that reasoning goes, another team emerges to say that it would have considered Bourn under the circumstances that the Mets are requesting?
This is getting very interesting to say the least.