Breaking News: Cleveland Indians Agree to Sign Michael Bourn

By Matt Musico

Well, it looks like the Mets will be able to keep their 11th overall pick afterall. Unfortunately, that won’t include having Michael Bourn man center field in Flushing for the next three to four years, as the Cleveland Indians have landed the Scott Boras client, and it doesn’t seem like his price dropped all that much.

From earlier reports today, it looked as though the Mets were still the most interested team to land Bourn; Ken Rosenthal also said that the Cubs, Indians, Mariners, and Rangers had also been keeping tabs on him, but it’s obvious that Cleveland was the most involved of all. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports was the first to report the contract agreement, as well as the terms to the deal.

October 2, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Bourn (24) reacts at the batting cage before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

While the Mets were negotiating with Boras, the two sides engaged in a game of chicken, as Boras said he had other attractive offers on the table for his client, and Sandy Alderson pushed back and said prove it…which he eventually did. Bourn will get $48 million over the next four years, includuing a vesting option for a fifth year, which could bring the overall value of the deal to $60 million with the Indians. According to rumors, Alderson and the Mets were willing to offer three guaranteed years, with the possibility of an option for the fourth year. Although Boras held out until the middle of February to get an offer as close to their asking price as possible, he once again came through when it counted for his client.

My first reaction to this news was obviously disappointment; I realize the Mets weren’t one player away from looking like a playoff team, and if they really were, I believe that Sandy Alderson would have paid a little more to get what the team needed. However, I applaud him for going hard after Bourn for the terms he wanted, and if it wasn’t meant to be, then it wasn’t meant to be. At the end of the day, Alderson would have been criticized for whatever the result of this pursuit was.

If New York ended up landing Bourn, there would be people ready to scream that they overpaid for him; now that Bourn has signed elsewhere, others will start to scream that they should have given him what he was asking for to get that proven lead-off man. It’s a classic “damned if he did, damned if he didn’t” situation. I really wish we could have seen him patrolling the outfield in Queens, but I applaud Alderson for sticking to his guns in negotiations. Now, we look for the next opportunity to improve the outfield…

UPDATE: Sources tell Joel Sherman that the Mets also had a four-year contract offer worth $48 million out to Bourn, but it was the hurdle that was getting their first round pick that prevented the deal from being completed. Going through the process to protect their pick could have taken another two or three weeks (with no certainty that it would land in the favor of the Mets), so that coupled with Cleveland adding the possibility of a fifth year made them want to pull the trigger. However, Bourn’s first choice was to sign with the Amazins.

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