The New York Mets let an opportunity pass them by when free agent outfielder Michael Bourn signed with the Cleveland Indians. The Mets stubbornness to not agree to terms with Bourn until they were assured that their first round pick in June’s draft would be protected is what ultimately cost them, as Bourn and his agent Scott Boras were unwilling to wait until the issue with the Mets and their draft pick was resolved. It was that stubbornness that cost the Mets a player they needed and a move they needed to make, even more than they need the 11th overall pick.
The monetary terms of the contract Bourn signed with Cleveland was apparently comparable to what the Mets were offering, and Bourn reportedly preferred to Mets over the Indians, but in the end, the Mets failed to act with conviction out of fear of losing the draft pick. That Mets lost out on signing a player that would have solved their problems in centerfield, at the leadoff spot, and in the perception that they are either unable or unwilling to spend money on big-name free agents; and all because they were unwilling to move forward without absolute assurance that they wouldn’t lose their draft pick. The Mets lost out on a player they badly needed for the chance to draft a prospect that may or may not become a big league player, and won’t do so for years to come, which is a shame, and in some ways an embarrassment. The Mets needed to make a statement this offseason, and signing Bourn, even at the expense of their top draft pick, was a way to do it, and letting that opportunity get away from them can’t sit well with a fan base that is already growing restless and weary due to the team’s lack of winning.
Of course, there’s no sense dwelling on the matter for too long, even in New York. After losing out on this opportunity, the Mets front office now has the responsibility to find the best player available to draft 11th overall. The player they draft 11th overall in June will forever be linked to Bourn, as the player that the Mets had to have instead of signing Bourn. Four years from now when Bourn’s contract is up, we’ll know for sure if sacrificing Bourn in favor of the draft pick was worth it or not, but right now, it sure feels like the Mets missed out an opportunity that they couldn’t afford to pass up.