Michael Bourne and the Mets

I’m not a fan of the idea of signing Michael Bourne.


I don’t have anything personal against the man.  From what I understand, he’s a solid citizen and a good guy.  He’s a decent player – good glove, has speed, steals bases, and there’s certainly a need for him in the Mets lineup.  


However, the Mets are not going anywhere this season.  They’re going to finish 4th in the division behind the Nationals, Braves, and Phillies.  Just like the argument the Pirates used with Ralph Kiner during the Hall of Famer’s playing days – they can finish in 4th with our without him.  Michael Bourne isn’t a difference maker.


Big market or not – financial issues or not with the team – the Mets are still a couple of years away from contention.  It’s clear the Mets are looking to reduce payroll while they get the debt service under control and if the team is going to be back to spending (hopefully wisely), it’s not prudent at this time to bog themselves down with a long term contract for Bourne.  If they were only a piece or two away, it would make sense.  At the moment it does not.


While the draft is essentially a crap shoot, signing Bourne would also cost the Mets their #1 pick this year, which also doesn’t make sense for the future.


Now I’m not going to feel sorry for a man who made $6.8MM last year, Michael Borne is getting screwed by the current market conditions in his search for a long term deal.  A team signing him will not only lose their #1 pick for signing him (which is nothing new), they will also lose their monetary slot allowance for the #1 pick in the draft.  


All this would be fine and good except for one thing – the way the market has played, the “penalty” for another team signing Bourn should be removed.  In the spirit of fairness, the purpose of the penalty would be to compensate the team that lost a prime free agent for their loss.  Bourn didn’t decide to walk away from the Braves, leaving the team to have to replace him with a lesser or unproven player (i know he declined the qualifying offer – but it’s also his right as a free agent to shop his services wherever he wishes).  The Braves were the ones who walked away from him first.  They added the Brothers Upton to the roster, and with an outfield of Upton, Upton, and Heyward – there’s no longer any room at the inn for Bourn.  


By the Braves actions, they’ve forced Bourn out the door.  There isn’t an option for him to come back to the team.  Because they Braves have taken away the option for him to return, they shouldn’t get further compensation for allowing him to go.  Bourn’s options are now diminished and hindered because of compensation that would have to be sent to the Braves for poaching their free agent. 


In real world terms – imagine getting replaced at your day job by someone from the outside, then not being able to get another job because a new employer would have to pay your former employer, even though you didn’t sign a non-compete contract. 




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