Fans may be wondering why teams aren’t lining up for the services of free agent all-star outfielder, Michael Bourn. With less than a week before Spring Training, Bourn remains unsigned. Bourn finished 18th in the 2012 MVP voting after posting a line of .274, 9 HR, 57 RBI and 42 SB. It’s no question that Bourn is a difference-maker on the field, yet he finds himself in a precarious situation. If his agent Scott Boras cannot find a suitor quickly, Bourn’s fantasy baseball value will begin to take a hit.
Bourn failed to surface with a legitimate playoff contender during the hectic winter meetings and the waves of off-season free agency. Boras and Bourn have only begun to budge on their demands for a long-term deal. Teams are skeptical about devoting so much money to an aging outfielder that relies heavily on his legs. The asking price of $15 million over four or five years is a major cause for many teams’ unwillingness to sign him.
The New York Mets have been discussing details to an agreement with Bourn over the past week. While the Mets are desperately in need of Bourn’s services, they are reluctant to part with their draft pick. The Mets finished the season with the 10th worst record in the league which should grant them immunity against losing their pick as compensation for signing Bourn. However, due to a technicality the Mets have been bumped to the #11 pick leaves them outside of the safe zone.
The Mets have been lobbying the front office for a different interpretation of the rule that would allow them to keep their first round pick. Reports are sounding optimistic that the Mets could retain their pick and sign Bourn to a four year deal at close to $15 million per season.
Bourn would be an automatic upgrade over all of the outfielders that the Mets currently have. His offensive and defensive prowess could allow the Mets to play competitive baseball in 2013. It will be most important for Bourn to continue his production in the latter years of the contract. The Mets have been strapped with countless bad contracts over the years and cannot afford to make an irrational move to take on another one. Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson has been true to his word in regard to responsibly gearing up for a bright future. Perhaps Alderson sees an opportunity to lock up one of the game’s premier outfielders at a discount with Bourn’s price tag falling with each week that passes.
If Bourn ends up playing in Queens, he can be expected to hit .270 with eight triples, six home runs, 55 RBI and 40 steals out of the leadoff spot.