Is He Worth A Draft Pick?

By Rich Sparago

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.

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

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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