Patience is a virtue, and in MLB free agency, it’s one that could lead to a big pay day.
There is, however, such a thing as waiting too long; after watching his contemporaries like B.J. Upton and Shane Victorino go to new clubs with shiny new contracts, Michael Bourn may be in the spot where the market for his services has shrunk too much for him to get the deal he wanted all winter.
In fact, the New York Mets may be the only team left in said market, which may explain why Bourn’s camp has taken the initiative to try to sell the player to the team in something of a strange role-reversal:
That’s not something you’d normally see of a Scott Boras-represented athlete, but there are good reasons why it has come to this. On top of the fact that it will cost a team a top draft pick to sign the 30-year old outfielder, Bourn is also looking for a contract worth at least $75 million over five years.
The combination of those things have seen potential suitors stay away. Now, the terms he’s asking for aren’t unreasonable; it’s essentially the same deal that Upton got from the Atlanta Braves, Bourn’s former team. That said, there aren’t too many teams left who can afford to add that kind of payroll commitment at this point, let alone part with a top draft pick on top.
As for credibility? The Mets still have their fair share of in-house financial troubles from the Bernie Madoff mess to deal with, and still managed to sign David Wright to something of a hometown discount on a seven-year extension. The team will have Johan Santana‘s massive salary coming off the books (minus a $5.5 million payout) following 2013, and will have money to spend on a potential free agent pool that includes folks like Tim Lincecum and Nelson Cruz.
Whether having Bourn on the roster next summer might make it more enticing for some of the next free agent class to consider the Mets remains to be seen; but, assuming they get their finances set straight, it seems unlikely that they will have problems convincing players to play in one of the largest markets in the game. The team is close to being financially free of its biggest obligations, and even with Bourn, they’re not a contender next year.
Could they use him? Of course – which team couldn’t use a dynamic lead-off hitter who can steal 40+ bases?
But do they need him? Probably not.
Luckily for Bourn, the Mets seem to be one team who has been actively interested in a deal this offseason. There is a fit there for the Mets, even if it might take some convincing for them to pull the trigger.