The Bourn Identity: Appreciating The Moves You Don’t Make

You’ve heard it a hundred times before. Sometimes the best trade is the one you don’t make. You can say the same thing about free agent signings. Aren’t you glad the Mets didn’t sign Michael Bourn during the 2012 offseason?

Plenty of Mets fans were crushed when Bourn signed a four-year, $48 million dollar contract with a vesting option worth $12 million for the 2017 season.

Sandy Alderson had Michael Bourn at the top of his wish list that offseason, and he later revealed that he offered the same four-year, $48 million contract that Bourn got with the Indians.

However Sandy was dead set against including that option for 2017 that vested at $12 million with 550 plate appearances in 2016.

“We viewed it as a fifth year in the contract at the levels we were talking about or that they were talking about,” Alderson said. “We weren’t prepared to go to five years and they had known that for some time so the vesting option was a big issue for us.”

So off to the Indians Bourn went and let’s just say that his first two seasons in Cleveland were pretty forgettable and he was never the leadoff hitter they thought they were getting.

Bourn’s on-base percentage was a disappointing .315 in 334 games with Cleveland, and while he did steal 46 bases during his stint with them, he was also caught 26 times. Ultimately, he was traded to the Braves in the middle of the third year of his deal.

Now, had the Mets signed Bourn that year, it would have also cost the Mets their first round pick in the 2013 draft. And who did the Mets end up selecting with that pick?

With the 11th overall pick in the draft, the Mets selected a 17-year old kid from Los Angeles, California by the name of Dominic Smith.

“We’re thrilled that we were able to select Dominic tonight,” Paul DePodesta, the Mets VP of Player Development & Amateur Scouting said. “He’s a guy we have followed since last summer. Our area scout has known him since he 12-years-old. We think we have a very good all-around player, a plus hitter with plus power.”

“This is a great honor and opportunity,” Smith told Metsmerized Online on draft day. “I can’t wait to get out there. It’s an incredible team. I can’t wait to put on my Mets uniform and get out there and play.”

So here we are now, at this critical point in time. And if the plan is to sign Adam Lind, I would just as soon hand the job to Smith and tell him, “Hey kid, the first base job is yours. Now go out there and give it everything you got.”

Look, like many of you I was underwhelmed by what I saw from Smith last season after his September call-up. He looked like an all or nothing home run hitter at the plate, very reminiscent of Dave Kingman. And worse yet, his defense was nothing like the reputation that preceded him. In fact, he was awful.

Still, I’m not ready to toss in the towel with Smith after a one-month sample size and neither should you.

When Mets general manager Sandy Alderson took a jab at Smith a few weeks ago, telling reporters, “He didn’t win it in September, let’s put it that way” referring to the starting first baseman job. Perhaps he was just trying to motivate Smith and light a fire under his ass.

Whatever the case may be, Dominic Smith heard him loud and clear and his appearance on SNY last night made a very positive impression on me.

“I’m not taking anything for granted. I know I didn’t perform like I’m capable of,” Smith said. “I know I didn’t perform how I’d like and I’m definitely going to work my butt off.”

Smith, 22, knows he needs to get in shape and he’s saying all the right things. Now it’s on him to do all the right things. Lets take him at his word and hold off and dispense with all this Adam Lind and Logan Morrison talk. While Michael Bourn’s career appears to be over, Dominic Smith’s career is only just getting started.

Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Hope you all have a great day. Make someone smile. 🙂


About Joe D 7951 Articles
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, '00 and '15, 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.