The offseason has not gone well for Michael Bourn, so far. It appears the speedy center fielder and his agent, Scott Boras, expected Bourn’s value to be much higher than it actually is. I’m sure neither Bourn nor Boras expected him to still be available in late January.
There are many reasons why Michael Bourn hasn’t signed yet. One notable reason: The team signing Bourn loses a first-round draft pick due to the collective bargaining agreement. The picks, though, are protected if a team is among the top 10 draft selections. In the case of the New York Mets, who had their pick dropped down to 11 because the Pittsburgh Pirates did not sign their pick from last year, a first-round pick is a lot to give up for a player who may lose his best asset — speed — with age.
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Bourn also is said to be looking for a contract similar to what B.J. Upton signed with the Atlanta Braves this offseason. The hefty price tag is nothing new coming from a Boras client, but as spring training gets closer, the asking price needs to go down or he may not be signed. Boras has shown in the past he’ll wait for as long as it takes to get a deal done (Prince Fielder), but the market appears to be very small, as of right now, and I don’t see many places left where Bourn fits well.
The most logical choice seems to be the New York Mets, but the Mets have cut payroll by over $40 million, and the likelihood of the Mets signing any type of long-term deal is comparable to Manti Te’o’s girlfriend being real. The Mets have petitioned MLB to see if their original 10th position in the draft (before being bumped by Pittsburgh) would protect their pick if they do sign Bourn. I think MLB may allow this to happen. If so, then I fully expect Bourn to be heading back to the NL East. However, I do not see this as a long-term signing for the 30-year-old. It appears Michael Bourn may sign a one- to three-year deal and see what he can do in next few offseasons. You never know, though. Mets owners aren’t exactly the best when it comes to investments.