The Michael Bourn Watch May Be Fun, But Not Healthy

Surprisingly, these Mets might be a player for a major free agent. That’s good news. It speaks to the overall financial health of the organization – as a separate entity from Sterling Equities or SNY – in a favorable light for the first time in four years. That the Mets are in a position to throw substantial money at a player who is at the same time the most prominent name available and fills an aching need should hearten the spirit of any Met fan who’s really paying attention. A player who can be gotten with Mets Money and a superlative defensive outfielder to boot? Sign the man.


The bad news is that the player is Michael Bourn. There are several strikes against this guy: he’s 30, his bread-and-butter are his legs, he’s asking for a five-year deal, his agent is Scott Boras and he’s likely to cost the Mets the #11 pick in the upcoming draft. Other than that, he’s the perfect player for the Mets to go after. Sandy Alderson has made it known far and wide that he is loath to give out guaranteed money for a time period any greater than a couple of years. He has also been shy – publicly, anyway – of investing in players whose main strength is speed, rather than power. Ask Jose Reyes if he got that memo. In general, speed guys don’t age well – Rickey Henderson to the contrary. For the sabermetrically-minded, Bourn’s career slash lines look pretty pedestrian: .272/.339/.365, for an OPS of .704. Not really in line with Alderson’s credo of on-base percentage coupled with power. Defensive metrics aren’t really reliable enough to calculate Bourn’s worth on the other side of the ball, so it’s tough to see Alderson pouring what funds are available into a largely unknown asset. Throw in the fact that agent Boras is known for squeezing every penny possible out of a potential employer – and Bourn’s current suitors are known for squeezing every penny until Lincoln’s eyes bug out. Meanwhile, draft choices have been hoarded like a crazy lady’s kitty litter lately, so — barring some last-minute intervention by the MLB mucky-mucks — the first-round pick would be history. It would seem a mix too volatile for many tastes, including Sandy Alderson’s.

Yet, every day we hear about in-progress negotiations, visits to Bourn’s Houston home and speculation that things might be going surprisingly well. This goes a bit of a way to keeping the Mets semi-relevant and it’s been awhile since a January back page belonged to Queens for a positive reason.

Your intrepid columnist just can’t help but wonder if this is the right man over whom to spill this much ink.

7 comments for “The Michael Bourn Watch May Be Fun, But Not Healthy

  1. January 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Bourn Watch… Is it wrong that I read this post with the cheesy Baywatch theme in my head?

  2. Name
    January 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    If this stuff happened in Dec, it would probably be back page stuff. I think the interest is way overblown and writers and bloggers have nothing else to talk about

  3. January 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I disagree that speed players age worse than power players.

    Omar Vizquel, Ichiro and Kenny Lofton are guys recently who depended upon speed and were productive players in their late 30s. Also, I’d invite everyone to read Jeff Zimmerman’s study on this, were he concluded:

    “Fast players age extremely well from their peaks at 26 to 31, then they lose on average fewer then five runs over five seasons.”

    • HarryDoyle
      January 30, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Brian, FanGraphs says otherwise:

      But really, does any of that even matter? If the Mets can’t afford him this offseason, then they shouldn’t sign him this offseason. Every mention of a long term deal for Bourn says it would be backloaded. Why would the Mets want to underpay him when they won’t be competitive, and then overpay him when they want to be competitive? That doesn’t make sense, which is why they shouldn’t do it.

      • January 30, 2013 at 8:24 pm

        My issue with the linked article is with Chris’ approach. What he’s measuring is SB – not total worth. It’s great from a fantasy perspective that Bourn stole 42 bases last year. His worth to a team in real life is dependent on factors besides SB – most importantly defense. Chris’ article did not address defensive value whatsoever, an important thing to consider since so much of Bourne’s real worth lies in his +24 Defensive Runs Saved/+22.4 UZR

  4. Dan Stack
    January 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Anything more than a 3-year deal and I say pass. If he can agree to a 3-year deal, then we could have something here.

  5. Chris F
    January 30, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I’m with you Charlie. Wrong guy, wrong time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: