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The Mets can’t sign Michael Bourn because they were too awesome last year

Michael Bourn Braves

Michael Bourn Braves

Well, the Mets being a “good” team is only part of the problem. For an explanation of why the Mets will probably need to surrender their 2013 first-round draft pick if they do, in fact, agree to a contract with Michael Bourn, Ken Rosenthal is the man to turn to (H/T: MetsBlog).

The Mets hold the 11th pick in the draft. But under the new collective-bargaining agreement, only the top-10 picks are “protected.” Teams holding those picks can sign a free agent who received a qualifying offer without losing their first-round choice as compensation. Those teams would lose their second-rounder instead.

Sounds clear-cut, except for one thing: The Mets had the 10th-worst record in the majors last season. They fell to the 11th spot only because the Pittsburgh Pirates did not sign their No. 1 pick, the eighth overall selection, Stanford right-hander Mark Appel. As compensation, the Pirates will pick ninth this year.

So the Mets actually were bad enough last season to have their first-round pick protected, but then the Buccos messed everything up by being too cheap to sign their first-round pick last season. Even though Pittsburgh was five wins better than the Mets in 2012, the CBA rewards them for not wanting to sign the guy they chose in the first round of the 2012 draft.

It sounds as though the Mets and the players union will have a tough time getting an exception since what is going on is part of the rules in the CBA. Plus, just to get a shot at the exception, the Mets will need to take a huge risk in signing Bourn, a 30-year-old outfielder who is coming off a career year and depends on his legs a whole lot.

Bourn would already be a huge risk because of his age and supposed price tag of around $15 million per year, but if you add in the fact that the Mets would likely be forfeiting the 11th overall pick in the draft, the gamble becomes too much. There are sources out there that link Bourn to the Mets, but if Alderson was iffy on signing Reyes, what would make him shell out the dough for Bourn, who is older and will never hit the way Reyes can?

Unless the Mets get him at a huge discount, Bourn may be a bad idea either way. Just remember, the reason we are even talking about draft picks is because the Mets were too darn successful last season. Blame Dickey.


4 Comments

  1. Sport of Politics (@sportofpolitics)

    January 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Out of curiosity, do you know if players that received qualifying offers had to outright reject them to become free agents? I would suspect so. Otherwise, what’s to keep Bourn from accepting the qualifying offer now, forcing the Braves’ hand since they already have Upton, Upton, and Heyward in the outfield? Can you confirm what the deal for players like Bourn and Lohse that are essentially stuck in limbo right now?

    • Aaron Yorke

      January 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      Bourn turned down the Braves’ qualifying offer back in November so it is no longer on the table. Players who were fielding qualifying offers had until November 9 to accept or decline. Either they accepted and stayed with their 2012 club, or they declined and became a free agent.

      Players that declined the qualifying offer could still sign with their 2012 club, but a whole new deal would need to be worked out, as the player would be treated like any other free agent.

      • Sport of Politics (@sportofpolitics)

        January 25, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        Thanks for the reply. I found a PDF of the CBA, which has been a fascinating read but I’m not a lawyer so I can’t say I understand all of it: mlb.mlb.com/pa/pdf/cba_english.pdf

  2. Pingback: Alderson, Ricco reportedly met with Bourn, Boras for dinner last week - The Daily Stache

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