Mets Miss Out On Michael Bourn: Is This A Good Thing?

The word came down last night: Michael Bourn – the last “real” outfielder on the free agent market – had signed a four-year, $48 million contract with the Cleveland Indians. The pact also included an easily-achievable incentive option for a fifth season, which could bring the total figure to $60 million. In other words, a Boras Special. Initial reports indicated that the Mets offered a nearly identical package — sans fifth-year option – and that New York was really Bourn’s first choice, but the sticking point was the two-to-three weeks it would have taken for MLB to rule on whether or not the team’s #11 draft choice was actually protected.

So that pipe dream goes down and goes down hard. Where, then, does this leave the Mets? Barring anything unforeseen, the Opening Day outfield shapes up to be Lucas Duda in left field, Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center and Mike Baxter around in right. It’s not exactly Ken Henderson/Willie Mays/Bobby Bonds. Hell, it may not even be Mookie Wilson/Lee Mazzilli/Ellis Valentine. It looks woefully short on power, defense and experience. Duda might hit a couple of long homers and Nieuwenhuis has some speed and Baxter is what this columnist would call a “clutch” defender, but to the naked eye, there appears to be very little else to get excited about. This, of course is based on what we all “know” – the evidence at hand points to a rough road for this outfield in 2013.

There is, however, a boatload about the 2013 outfield that we don’t know. We don’t know what Collin Cowgill brings to the party. We don’t know how Matt Den Dekker might react to getting a long look as a non-roster invitee this spring. We don’t know if Marlon Byrd — another NRI — has anything left. We don’t know if Jordany Valdespin has his head screwed on straight. Terry Collins took today’s official first day of pitchers & catchers to throw down the gauntlet: opportunities are here if you want ‘em. Reminiscent of the original 1962 vaudeville troupe, there are chances for players with the ability, desire and drive to be beyond – in Collins’ words – “just satisfied with making the big league club.” The next six weeks or so will be the proving ground, will bring more into focus all those things we don’t know. It could be fun to find out what we have right in front of us.

It could also be torture.

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20 comments for “Mets Miss Out On Michael Bourn: Is This A Good Thing?

  1. steevy
    February 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    My vote is,it will be torture.

  2. Name
    February 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I’m most excited to see Cowgill and most glad to not see Bay. I don’t think anyone has a good projection of what this group will do; not sure if that’s bad either though.

  3. February 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Half of me is glad, because IMO 5 years @ 60 mil plus the draft pick and its allotted money was too much. The other half is worried about how epically bad the OF has the potential to be.

    But hey, who knows? Maybe one or two of those players break out…

  4. Kosei Iwamoto
    February 12, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    I don’t think people here realize that our outfield this year is not as bad as last years if not better. We are losing 70 games of Jason Bay batting .165 and 132 games of Andres Torres batting .230 both providing very little production. Hopefully Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis can improve. If not, you can platoon them to get the most production out of the outfield.

  5. February 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    I don’t see how Mets 360 bloggers can forecast what the teams pitchers will do when the outfield is so woefully inadequate. Forget offense. Baxter is a good 4th outfielder who if forced to play every day will bring out his shortcomings. Nieuwenhuis if can but the bat on the ball will probably platoon with Cowgill. Thus reducing his chances of striking out 200 times in a season. Duda should be platooned as well. Between him and Kirk they could conceivably strike out over 400 times in a full season. There is going to be no continuity in the outfield.Terry Collins is going to play whoever is hot at the moment. After all he’s looking to get a new contract too. I would like to see Mets 360 bloggers forecast their predictions or pitching now that the questions about the outfield have been answered.

    • Name
      February 13, 2013 at 3:30 am

      Other than affecting wins, what does offense from the OF’s have anything to do with pitchers performing? I have no idea what you’re talking about here.

  6. February 13, 2013 at 5:18 am

    To Name.What I was referring to was the blogs that project pitching performances. Fly ball pitchers as opposed to ground ball pitchers etc,,, With so many question marks about the abilities(offensive and defensive) It would seem to me to be pretty difficult to predict how pitchers are going to perform. If your pitching knowing how vulnerable the defense is it has to affect you unless your a strikeout pitcher. As for offense if the team is constantly behind in the early going then it’s going to put a lot more pressure on Terry Collins to use his bull pen sooner rather than later. At least if Bourn was in center field it would of taken a lot of the pressure off the kids and he could of covered the mistakes Duda will make playing left field. But I will say that Sandy stuck to his game plan and isn’t changing his concept of what will bring a consistent winner here for the long haul.

    • Name
      February 13, 2013 at 11:54 am

      I think you’re putting too much weight on the effect of defense on a pitcher’s performance. In the heat of the game, no pitcher really cares who is in the field. Do you really think that when a pitcher is in a jam, they are thinking that Lucas Duda is out there in Left field? I don’t know an exact number, but i would have to guess that fielding will probably affect pitching performance of a max of 5-10%.
      In fact, i don’t think any pitching projection system uses fielding in their calculations. Otherwise, you would see all the Cleveland pitchers get better proejctions now that they have Bourn in CF, but projection systems don’t change based on who is in the field.

  7. February 13, 2013 at 9:40 am

    If nothing else, we know the Mets had the ability to pay out $12 million more than they did this year, if reports of their 4/$48 offer were correct.

    I wouldn’t have let the draft pick compensation keep me from making the offer. But I’m not unhappy they refused to include the vesting option.

    I would have liked to have seen Bourn on the team but I’m okay with the line that Alderson drew at four years.

    • Jerry Grote
      February 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      doesn’t that beg the question …

      if the Mets could have given a $50MM contract to anyone in the postseason … and it wasn’t going to be Bourn … who should they have given the deal to?

      • Jim
        February 13, 2013 at 7:56 pm

        [This is my grandfather the English teacher speaking through me] Would people puh-leeze look up the meaning of “begs the question”? It is used incorrectly so many times in print, including the note above, that it drives me crazy. It does NOT mean “raises the question” but in fact almost the opposite… it means “beats around the bush” or “avoids the issue”. As Casey Stengel says, you could look it up.

        • Jerry Grote
          February 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm

          really dude? You’re playing the English teacher card in a baseball blog? Thanks so much.

    • HarryDoyle
      February 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Brian, that’s assuming the contract wouldn’t have been backloaded. Since it was reported that Bourn’s contract would need to be backloaded, and considering Wright was to be paid $16M this season but his new contract extension calls for him to be paid only $8M this season, I think a much better assumption is that Bourn would have been paid much less than $12M this season.

  8. February 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

    You can bet the house that Scot Boras told the Indians that the Mets had matched their offer in order to squeeze out a 5th year. So good luck to them and let’s see what the Mets can accomplish this season.

  9. February 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I know that if Duda becomes a liability on defense Collins will just have to bring in his defensive specialist a little earlier in the ballgame. Duda can always DH when the Mets play away during inter-league play and can give Ike a breather at first base as well.

  10. Joe Vasile
    February 14, 2013 at 1:03 am

    We’ll have to wait a while to find out for sure, but I like the non move. In 7 years, he’s only had one season with an OPS+ over 100 (it was 103 in 2011, 100 is league average), and his career mark is 90 (e.g. 10% worse than the average player adjusted for ballpark and position). However, his great defense makes up for his power shortcomings, and with an outfield featuring Lucas Duda, the Mets need all the defense they can get.

  11. Steve S.
    February 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I wanted Bourn, but not for more than four years. Hairston for two years and $5 million would have been good though.

    That being said, this outfield stinks, but at least it’s a bit better than last year’s of Bay, Torres, and a mediocre Duda in RF.

  12. February 14, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Funny, I seem to have blotted out what a swirling vortex of suck Andres Torres was last year…

  13. February 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    If the Mets were willing to sign Bourn for 48 I think Hairston asking for 5 million for 2 years is pretty reasonable. An outfield of Hairston, Bourn and add any of the kids platooning right field would have been a vast improvement over 2012.

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