Well, Mike, I can’t shake the feeling that the Mets new interest in Michael Bourn is the result of Sandy Alderson missing the mark in a couple of different ways. I don’t think Bourn was an original target — in fact, I believe he was dismissed out of hand — and now, at the 11th hour, the Mets are formally seeking a waiver to the CBA rule that requires the team to forfeit the #11 draft pick, and $2.625 million from their bonus pool, in the event of signing Bourn. Shouldn’t they have prepared for this months ago? This is important information. Moreover, we have to ask: Why the sudden heat for Michael Bourn? One answer is that his price has lowered — Sandy waited him out! Another answer is that by misreading the market, Alderson finds the Mets in the situation we are in now: our outfield is a joke, and there are still plenty of tickets to sell. Sure, Bourn represents a massive improvement over a dismal situation. I can’t rule out this signing, despite the high cost. But is it the right move?
I can’t consider it if the pick must be forfeited. Yesterday I saw a posting on Kranepool’s site advocating signing Bourn. In it he analyzed many prior number eleven picks. I’m on record as a fan of Kranepool’s postings but in this case I do think that is a misleading analysis. In baseball, unlike football and basketball, many drafted players had used the option of not signing as a means to circumvent the draft process. The draft was becoming marginalized in importance, and the value of higher picks was injured.
The new CBA makes serious adjustments for this by giving teams hard cap signing bonus allotments for the draft. The total budget is calculated by draft order. The first ten teams have their picks and the associated budget dollars protected.
If the Mets sign Bourn while at #11 in the draft, they lose the pick and the ability to use that money anywhere else in the draft. Also, since all teams can only spend what they have available, the chances of a very good player being right there at #11 is outstanding. Looking at prior history is not worthwhile, the system has changed.
Bottom line, it is like trading a Syndergaard (at a minimum) and paying free agent rates for the player.
Okay, yes, and that sucks. The price is awfully high. But, I have to ask: so what? The money is only money, and it’s about time we spent some of it. It’s unfortunate if we lose a pick as potentially valuable as the #11 overall, and the draft money that goes with it, but in the end we get a good (not great) player who would bring to the Mets several qualities we sorely lack:
- Great defense in CF;
- Speed on the basepaths;
- A genuine leadoff hitter;
- An outfielder, period.
All in all, one less hole to fill in 2014. We would have traded strong prospects for Upton. Now we can potentially bring in a guy while only losing a draft pick. Is the draft pick really that much to be a deal-breaker? I don’t necessarily think so.
But I do think it’s strangely inconsistent with Alderson’s self-proclaimed “M.O.” He’s basically sneered at Omar’s history of surrendering draft picks in the past. What’s strange to me is that this departure from policy — which in and of itself is okay, things change, he’s allowed to set a new course — is over Michael Bourn. A nice player I never really coveted, particularly. Is all of this because he’s the last man standing, and we’re facing an abyss in the outfield, in part because of misreading the market in the first place.
Again, this also goes back to Denard Span, who the Nationals got for one very nice pitching prospect. Dave Cameron at Fangraphs wrote, “Nationals Steal Denard Span from Twins.”
Exactly. Span had a nice contract too. We would have controlled him long enough to help past 2013 but not be locked in long-term. I can’t see how that move is not smarter than signing Bourn. Now, hey, Alderson could have offerered Fulmer up and been dismissed by the Twins. I certainly admit I’m not on the inside. But this whole thing with Bourn seems so strange, like this major shift in direction.
All of this “patience” should go out the window for Michael Bourn? He’s fast, and a good defender, but he will get a big contract.
Jose Reyes was fast and a good defender and also got a big contract. Since he was ours from birth he was more marketable than Bourn will ever be. And we would not have lost a #11 pick to sign him either (with the new CBA we received back the 35th pick as compensation). Reyes wasn’t something that happened ten years ago.
So color me confused.
But we haven’t actually signed this guy, let’s see where this goes.
I have to quote you here, Mike. This is what you said back on December 11th:
“The Nationals picked up exactly the type of outfielder we needed in Denard Span. He has some speed and is an above average player with a reasonable contract for the next two years. The price was Alex Meyer who just had a very nice season in High A ball. We have players in our system not named Harvey or Wheeler who compare favorably to Meyer. One that comes immediately to mind is Michael Fulmer. Everyone knows we have to address the outfield situation; right now Alderson faces a fork in the road. Trade a prospect for an established outfielder or trade an established player for a high end outfield prospect.”
At the time, I did not want to surrender Fulmer (or, more likely, Fulmer-plus) for Span. I was more focused on a corner outfielder. But now the Span deal looks like a bargain compared to what Alderson appears to be contemplating.