The Michael Bourn situation is way past the point of over-saturation, so we promise to only report on what we find to be new information regarding the Mets’ pursuit of the free agent center fielder. In today’s New York Post, Joel Sherman had the following to say:
The Mets and Scott Boras are engaged in a game of chicken. The powerful agent is saying he has attractive offers elsewhere for Michael Bourn. The Mets are essentially challenging him to prove those offers exist by remaining relatively inflexible in what they are willing to spend on the fleet center fielder. With pitchers and catchers now less than a week away, we wait to see who blinks in a game that these two sides have participated in before.
Sherman goes on to describe a few pursuits where the Mets lost their game of chicken with Boras (Derek Lowe, Matt Holliday). In this instance, though, there simply doesn’t appear to be another team willing to give more than one or two years to Bourn. The Rangers repeat every other day that they have no interest. Yesterday, Buster Olney surmised that the Indians might be interested if Bourn’s price dropped “a lot.” However, Olney’s claim read more like a guess than informed speculation. There’s always a chance the Orioles could jump in, and the Mariners are lurking, but none appear as serious as the Mets. Sherman continues:
Thus, the Mets can discuss a three-year deal for Bourn and hint at willingness to go to a fourth season — as they have done — and once again dare Boras to prove he has someplace else to go…But without a dramatic turn or the revealing of a so-far covert aggressive bidder, the Mets could be sitting with the largest offer, and Boras could be trying to get them to go further by intimating he has a market when there is none. At this point, we can probably safely assume the five-year, $75 million offer will not materialize. But Boras probably feels compelled to bring Bourn in at a larger package than the four years at $40 million the Giants gave Mets castoff Angel Pagan.
If the above is accurate, the Mets are using a sound strategy. In no circumstances should they offer Bourn more than four years (I’d prefer to stick to three guaranteed). In the event one of Boras’ mystery teams reveals itself and offers more than four years guaranteed, the Mets can wish that team luck. The Mets need to get Bourn on their terms or not at all. Now is not the time for an overpay.
According to Sherman, the Mets continue to believe they would win their argument to retain their first round pick (11th overall) if it came to it. As we have for the last few weeks, all we can do is wait for a resolution on Bourn – followed by waiting for MLB’s decision on the draft pick.