Aug 28, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Bourn (24) during batting practice before a game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Is He Worth A Draft Pick?


Earlier this week, Sandy Alderson spoke about the Mets potential involvement in the free-agent market this year. When asked about Michael Bourn, Alderson said that signing Bourn, who received a qualifying offer from the Atlanta Braves, would cost the Mets a first-round pick in next year’s draft, and that’s not something the Mets were interested in doing. I think the lack of interest in Bourn has a lot more to do with his potential price tag, something Alderson did not say. Bourn rejected the Braves offer of over $13 million for one year.  Bourn will likely command a contract of at least 3 years, probably valued at around $36 million.

At 30, Bourn, who relies on his legs, may not be a good investment for five years. However, if he’d accept a three-year deal, I have repeatedly said that Bourn would be the perfect fit for the Mets. Bourn would bring speed and defense to the spacious Citi Field outfield, two elements the Mets sorely lack. Now, I realize that Bourn will not land in Flushing. But let’s take a look at Alderson’s statement about sacrificing a first-round pick, and how it’s logical to walk away from Bourn for that reason. Here are the Mets first-round picks since 1992:

 

1992- Jon Ward

1993- Kirk Presley

1994- Paul Wilson

1994- Jay Payton

1994- Terrence Long

1995- Ryan Jaroncyk

1996- Robert Stratton

1997- Geoff Goetz

1998- Jason Tyner

1999- No pick

2000- Bobby Keppel

2001- David Wright

2002- Scott Kazmir

2003- Lastings Milledge

2004- Philip Humber

2005- Mike Pelfrey

2006- No pick

2007- Eddie Kunz

2008- Ike Davis

2008- Reese Havens

2008- Bradley Holt

2009- No pick

2010- Matt Harvey

2011- Brandon Nimmo

2011- Michael Fulmer

2012- Gavin Cecchini

2012- Kevin Plawecki

 

If you look at this list, you quickly see that drafting in baseball is hit-and-miss. Some players (Wright, Davis, etc.) make it, while many others do not. Bringing this back to Bourn, he could help the Mets, in an area of desperate need for a few years. If the cost truly is a draft pick, looking at the results above, I’d take that risk. I’m not suggesting that the Mets should go back to signing free agents and giving up draft picks on a regular basis. However, I think in this case it would make sense. And herein lies the problem, the same old problem. I don’t think the lack of interest in Bourn is about a draft pick. Sandy Alderson is a “numbers guy”, and the odds of a first-round pick having a significant impact are fairly low (as you see above). The issue with Bourn, and with this entire post season, comes down to money. Sure, it’s easier to say it’s all about the pick. There’s some logic in that. However, I’m not sure that, in this case, the math adds up. What do you think?

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Tags: David Wright Ike Davis Michael Bourn Mike Pelfrey

  • Glenn

    No, there is no point giving up a pick for a speedster on the wrong side of 30. If he was the last piece of the championship puzzle then sure, but why pay that price to finish in 4th rather than 5th? Mets need to stay the rebuilding course and build up the farm for the future or potential future trades.

  • http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.blogspot.com/ MikeLecolant.BTB

    As part of that Moneyball thing, another minor detail is Sandy really doesn’t believe in stolen bases. Working in Bourne’s favor, good center fielders are hard to come by. I would like to have the defense and speed he brings. I really would. I believe in being strong up the middle. However, a three year deal is out of the question for me. And a one year deal hardly seems worth the effort. In the Mets present situation, his price would do more harm than help. He just will not create enough impact to warrant five million dollars less than David Wright makes. The Mets just aren’t there yet. For at least another season, the Mets should still be trying to secure young talent. So in this case, I’d rather keep the pick, which I believe is going to be #11 overall. I agree, the history of 1st round picks is a strong argument to indeed try and sign Bourne. A #1 pick in baseball is perhaps a small price to pay. So yes, the signing would make sense. He would certainly be an improvement. But philosophically speaking, I think the Mets should exercise discipline, and stay the rebuilding course as GLENN says.

  • marc114

    I kind of agree with you. Bourne however is far from perfect. First he’s lefty and we need righty in the outfield. Second, he strikes out way too much. Third, he’s coming off a career year. If you notice, as great as he supposedly is, no one is jumping at him. Personally I’d be willing to give Arizona Tejada or Flores plus two pitchers not named Wheeler, Harvey or Niese for Upton. Not a crazy thought as it’s pretty close to what the Mariners offered. We’d still need a centerfielder BUT, we added power, a few years of control, plus he’s Wright’s buddy so David might be a good influence on him.

  • Rich

    Mike, the disdain for the SB is my primary concern with Alderson. He points to teams who make the post-season as being heavy with power. But what happened to the Yankees, who rely on power more than any other team, when that power vanished? Two of the last 3 WS have been won by SF, a notoriously low HR team. And Glenn, I hear what you’re saying about speed and 30+. I still think they have to improve the OF and leadoff spot, and here’s a way without trading the pieces that are already in the organization.