Sandy Alderson made an appearance on Sirius XM Radio yesterday afternoon with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette, touching upon a few hot button topics regarding the New York Mets and the current news and rumors that surround our beloved team. Not surprisingly, Alderson is still in the market for some bullpen arms, and mentioned he’s planning on paying reliever Brian Wilson another visit in a few days.
Rich Sparago did a great job summarizing the mains parts of Sandy’s interview on the site yesterday, while Michael Lecolant talked specifically about the Mets’ plans on working out Wilson one more time. The fact that Alderson wants to see how Wilson’s rehab has progressed from the last time they watched him throw is intriguing to me. Executives who watched him throw the first time weren’t impressed because he didn’t have any velocity, and the organization was only willing to give him a non-guaranteed, minor league contract at the time; something Wilson isn’t looking for heading into 2013.
June 14, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Jason Bay (44), center fielder Andres Torres (56) and outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis (9) in the outfield against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. New York Mets defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
However, with Alderson and company not ruling him out after that first workout, it’s clear they prefer Wilson over all the remaining bullpen options available on the market (including Jon Rauch), and want to give him every opportunity to earn a Big League contract to come and join the Amazins in Flushing. On the flip side, it’s just as intriguing that Wilson hasn’t turned around and signed with another team after his first workout for Sandy didn’t go well. Although it’s unlikely, people familiar with the situation aren’t dismissing a return to the Giants, and the Tigers are also rumored to be interested. So, this makes it clear to me that Wilson prefers to pitch in New York over the other teams he’s drawn interest from. I hope this second look Sandy is getting goes a lot better than the first one; the Mets could use Wilson’s quirky personality in the clubhouse as much as they could use his arm on the mound. I’m crossing my fingers that he’s shown some progression in his velocity from earlier this month.
One of the other topics Alderson was asked about was the outfield (surprise!). In the wake of the Justin Upton trade, Sandy revealed that his talks with Towers with regard to Upton’s availability were deeper than it seemed to be in the public eye, and if his eventual trade to the Braves happened sooner, they probably would have made a harder push to retain Scott Hairston, instead of watching him leave for a two-year deal with the Cubs. It was also revealed that the Mets balked at Hairston’s demands because he wanted to get a chance to start, while they felt he was a platoon player at best.
That leads us into our daily chat about Michael Bourn and the possibility of him landing in Flushing. Alderson said on Sirius yesterday that he is “very reluctant” at the prospect of surrendering the team’s top pick, but didn’t actually say they would have no interest in the center fielder if the MLB didn’t allow them to protect the 11th overall pick. There’s no question the addition of Bourn would make the Mets a better team. Would it make them a playoff team? Most likely not, but if you insert an above average defender that can steal bases in the leadoff spot to a team that has none of those, that team is bound to improve, at least a little bit.
However, I think the bottom line with the Bourn situation will be money and length of a deal, not the draft pick. The Scott Boras client is still seeking a contract similar to B.J. Upton (five-years/$75 million), but when February 1st is four days away, it’s hard to stick to your guns with those demands. If Bourn would settle for a three-year deal in the range of $10-15 million per season, I think it would be worth it to the Mets to surrender that draft pick if the MLB doesn’t protect it. That kind of contract is short enough to still enjoy the productiveness of Bourn without dealing with him slowing down at the end, and he would be around in 2014 and 2015 to help the Mets contend for October. If he won’t settle for a deal less than five years, or will only take a one-year deal to re-enter the market next winter, then it’s not worth it to New York. At the end of the day, I don’t think we’ll be seeing him in New York this season, and I’m OK with it; I’ll tell you why this afternoon.