2/8/13

The Impossible Dream (reprise) - MLB Reconsiders?

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Just when you think you have things all figured out, something comes in from left field and upsets your applecart. Just yesterday I was making a case for the improbability of the Mets getting a favorable ruling on their request to have their #11 draft pick protected if they signed Michael Bourn. Most analysts and baseball writers were in agreement that the Mets chances were slim. Adam Rubin, who has been following the situation closely, said "A source briefed on the draft-pick compensation issue related to Bourn said Major League Baseball’s stance on whether the 11th pick ought to be protected has not changed. MLB still believes the collective bargaining agreement is clear — that the first 10 picks in the draft are protected, not the picks of the teams with the 10 worst records the previous season."

Today, however, Jim Bowden of ESPN has a different take on the situation, appparently from a different inside source than Rubin's. Bowden made the following statement: "According to a league source if the Mets were able to sign Michael Bourn it is likely through negotiations w/union pick would be protected…According to source the intent on both sides were to protect teams with 10 worst records rather than the first 10 picks in language…According to a team source that has been involved in Bourn negotiations deal more likely to end up with AAV $14-15m range than $11-12m range." The implication is that, should the MLBPA get involved, MLB would give in and allow the pick to be protected. This would support my contention of yesterday that the MLB team owners would be very reluctant to make a case that, although the intent of the rule is to improve competitive balance, the  ten worst teams should not necessarily be protected. It is still my belief that the current wording of the rule was deliberately written by the representatives of the owners to drive down the value of the top free agents.

Met fans can only hope that Bowden's source is correct. If the pick is protected, the probability is high that Bourn will be wearing a Mets uniform in a few weeks. Alderson would be free to negotiate a contract with Boras within the parameters acceptable to the ball club. Apparently, a source on the Mets indicates that the deal could have an average value in the $14 to $15 million per year range. I am hoping that Alderson can keep it to 3 years with a fourth year option, and I have no problem with a $14-$15 million AAV, given the value of the contract B.J. Upton got from theBraves. Bourn's value to the Mets is certainly in that range.

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