Look, no one among us expected the Mets to be negotiating with Michael Bourn as pitchers and catchers reported to Tradition Field. So there shouldn’t be outrage now that Bourn ultimately turned down his surprise suitors in Flushing for a second such team, agreeing to a four-year, $48-million contract with Cleveland last night that — critically — featured a vesting option for a fifth year at another $12 million.
At the same time, though, let’s not give the Mets an A for effort, either.
The Mets’ talks with Bourn ultimately didn’t reach the finish line for three reasons: 1) the Indians offered a better package, as the Mets discussed concepts for four years yet didn’t include that vesting option; 2) Bourn favored the Indians, whom he viewed as closer to contention in a more winnable division than the Mets; 3) the Mets never wanted to give up their 11th overall selection in the 2013 draft as compensation for signing Bourn.
That last hurdle proved the toughest to overcome; an arbitration procedure on whether the pick should be protected — the Mets posted the 10th-worst record last year, and the Basic Agreement calls for the top 10 picks to be protected, but the Pirates’ failure to sign Mark Appel last year gave Pittsburgh the ninth overall selection and pushed the Mets back a slot — needed 2-to-3 weeks to expedite, which would’ve required Bourn to essentially sit in limbo while that process took place. And there certainly was no guarantee that an arbitrator would have ruled in favor of the Mets and the Players Association on this matter.
It’s the Mets’ right to want to protect that pick, which we’ll now all be scrutinizing for years to come, and it’s not unreasonable. Seattle, which goes right after the Mets at number 12, also held reservations about giving up its selection for Bourn, even though the Mariners, too, could’ve used the speedy center fielder. Nevertheless, the Mets can’t claim they went all-out for Bourn. Because they didn’t.
Failed Bourn pursuit doesn’t earn Amazin’ praise
New York Post | Feb 12