In a report this morning for FoxSports.com, Ken Rosenthal does a terrific job explaining why the Mets are petitioning MLB to adjust their rule for draft pick compensation, which would allow Sandy Alderson to sign free-agent OF Michael Bourn at the cost of a second-round draft pick instead of a first-round pick.
The way I understand it, MLB will only seriously consider Alderson's case if he first reaches an agreement with Bourn. The deal can be pending the league's ruling, but they want to see a deal first. I'm sure the Mets prefer to do it the other way around, but beggars can't be choosers. What's more, as Rosenthal points out, Bourn's agent is Scott Boras, and by granting this exception for one draft pick (and setting a precedent), MLB would essentially be doing one team and one agent a massive favor at the expense of also having to address future requests... and it's hard to imagine them doing that, so long as at least one other team is interested in Bourn's services (like the Mariners, and maybe the Rangers).
In either case, I'm skeptical. I'm skeptical the league will help with this. And, I'm even more skeptical that Alderson will give such a long-term contract to a 30-year-old, left-handed hitting, light-weight, strikeout-happy hitter, who is mostly just fast and a good fielder. It's not Alderson's style. He talks of right-handed power and payroll flexibility so much that I don't understand how Bourn fits in.
Now, if they're discussing a one-year deal, which I understand Bourn might be willing to accept (so he can be a free-agent again next winter), it might make some sense. This might also explain why Alderson is aggressively defending his first-round pick. However, to do this, I assume Bourn will want at least $15 million, and it's hard to imagine Alderson spending the rest of his off-season budget on one guy, especially since he still needs more players (specifically in the bullpen). Yes, he can backload a multi-year deal, but then we're back to questioning the value of Bourn over five years, which doesn't seem to fit in to Alderson's long-term goals either. As I said, I'm skeptical.
I like Bourn to a certain extent, especially since his ability and presence in center field might help the team's young pitchers. I'd take him for one year, to fill a void, so long as I can keep that top draft pick. However, I don't think he alone is enough to make a big enough impact on this team's success next year to justify giving up a potential top prospect. He's good, but he's not that good.
The crazy thing is, after writing this and giving it thought, I can't help but feel like we are Charlie Brown, the Mets are Lucy, and the Rumor Mill is the football... At some point, I hope we get a kick in, because I can't help but charge at the ball each time it's out there. But, man, I'm tired of getting my hopes up for action only to see us all fall on our backs each time. That said, I'm reasonable and I understand what's going. As I've said, while I'm tired of watching a losing team, I'm more tired of watching the Boom, Bust and Rebuild Cycles of the last 30 years. So, I'm OK waiting for a more sound, successful and sustainable team to be built, which is what I believe Alderson is doing. But, eventually, be it this year, next year, whenever, the Mets have to do something to actually move forward. Eventually, you have to stop on the foundation and framing, and actually move in to the new house. Eventually, they have to promote an impact arm and bat, make a trade, sign a meaningful free agent... something, anything... to help stop the slide of losing more and more games each season. I'm patient, but my patience is wearing thin.
Again, if you have questions about why and how the Mets are petitioning baseball to make an exception for their first-round pick read Rosenthal's report: here's the link, click it.