|Bourn’s next contract unlikely to meet demands||| Print ||
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on February 10, 2013
He is a Scott Boras client, so naturally the duo is seeking top dollar for the speedster’s services. Based on the five-year, $75.25 million contract B.J. Upton signed with the Atlanta Braves, a deal similar for Bourn would seem fitting.
However, interest in that sort of deal at that price is far from what Bourn has received. Bourn recently turned 30 years old, which might be a red flag for teams thinking about signing him.
Sure, he’s stolen at least 40 bases the past five seasons, but his reliance on his legs has pretty much precluded the possibility of the five-year deal he’s seeking. In another few years, the likelihood will increase of his speed diminishing.
Photo by At Home Plate Staff, All Rights Reserved.
Bourn on a two- or three-deal at this point would be a bargain, and that is likely what teams have been offering. His speed would still be a major weapon both on the base paths and in center field.
The cash-strapped New York Mets are said to have interest and may even be willing to go to a three- or four-year deal. However, reports indicate that the Mets would in no way offer an annual base salary of $15 million per season that Bourn and Boras seek.
Mets superstar David Wright recently reached out to Bourn, saying that the outfielder would be well-received in New York. But this is a money business, and Bourn has shown he can be patient rather than jumping at the first offer that comes his way.
The Mets likely would only make a play for Bourn if MLB protects the team’s 11th overall draft pick. Bourn is a Type-A free agent who received a qualifying offer from the Braves, and thus Atlanta would receive a compensation pick from whichever team signs him.
The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners may also be in the mix for Bourn. After losing Josh Hamilton to the Angels, the Rangers certainly could use him.
In fact, it’s a little surprising that the Rangers have not been more aggressive in pursuing Bourn. Texas has Nelson Cruz and David Murphy at the corners but will rely on 29-year-old Craig Gentry in center field.
Gentry hit .304 in 240 at-bats last season, but he’ll have huge shoes to fill with the loss of Hamilton. Bourn at least could be a proven commodity to add to the top of the Rangers’ lineup.
The Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians are also said to have interest in Bourn but only if the asking price drops significantly. Both teams dished out big contracts to Edwin Jackson and Nick Swisher, respectively, so they might be done spending this offseason.
Speed can be such a weapon in this league, but the window of players who rely mainly on speed is so small. That’s why Bourn remains unsigned.
He has the resume to command a multi-year, mega-million dollar deal, but the threat of his speed diminishing has teams shying away.
If MLB protects the Mets’ draft pick, Bourn in Flushing, Queens, becomes the most likely scenario. But that would set a precedent that MLB would much rather not explore.