The Bourn Destination

The Bourn Destination isn’t another change to the film adaptations of the Robert Ludlum series of books with protagonist Jason Bourne played by Matt Damon, then the new character, Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner. The spelling is different and Michael Bourn, while having attributes of his own, doesn’t possess the sets of skills, kills and thrills that the fictional Bourne characters do. Locations are being scouted and New York is under consideration, but in the end, it’s not going to happen.

Michael Bourn is more of a background character/sidekick than a headliner. Given that he’s the biggest name available on the free agent market and had his career season in 2012, he’s become a “star” by attrition. The teams that are willing to pay him what agent Scott Boras is asking (said to be $15 million per year for at least five years) are nonexistent.

The prevailing storyline has Bourn and the Mets flirting with one another, but this is contingent on Bourn’s price and contract duration coming down significantly and no other team jumping in at the last minute to take him away from the Mets. I wrote about the Mets and Bourn here. There are arguments for both sides of signing him and walking away, but like the Mets failed pursuit of Vladimir Guerrero in 2004, the interest is legitimate and the determination to get a good deal will preclude them from getting the player.

In the end, the Rangers are the most likely landing spot for Bourn.

The holdup for the Mets is no longer money. It’s the draft pick compensation. The Mets, rightfully, don’t want to trade the 11th pick of the first round of the upcoming draft for Bourn. Some will see this as an excuse not to pay him and that they’re using the public, vulture-like circling around Bourn and Boras as a means to excite the fans while hoping that the dominoes fall in place where the Mets can actually get him cheaply. GM Sandy Alderson is playing poker, putting it out there that the Mets are serious about Bourn and that they can seal the deal on their terms.

Under the Wilpons and then-GM Jim Duquette in 2003-2004, the Mets tried a similar strategy with Guerrero as his market was crashing due to a back injury that made clubs reluctant to guarantee him the five years he wanted. For days it was expected that the Mets would get Guerrero at favorable terms (three years with incentives raising it to five). The Orioles were also in the mix. The media and fans were shocked that the Angels dove in with a guaranteed five-year contract and nabbed Guerrero. It was conveniently ignored that the shy Guerrero wanted zero part of New York and was probably offended that the Mets thought they were going to swoop in and get him at a discount because of a back injury that wound up being a non-issue. Guerrero won the AL MVP in 2004 and finished third, ninth, and third again in the voting for the following three years of the deal.

In retrospect the Mets should have paid Guerrero. With Bourn, they’re pulling the same histrionics for the sake of PR with the end result—not getting the player—being the same as well.

If they want him, they need to go get him without these pretentious shows of cleverness. There isn’t a “we have to get this guy” tone with the Mets in this pursuit and Bourn isn’t that type of player. They’ll take him if he falls into their laps at the right price, but if he’s taking less money than he wants, why sign with the Mets?

The Rangers need a center fielder superior to Craig Gentry and Bourn is the logical choice. They have the money and the draft pick compensation is negligible to the Rangers since they hold the 25th pick and they will have the 34th pick as compensation for losing Josh Hamilton. We’re talking about dropping one pick nine slots before they have another pick to get a player they need to contend in 2013.

The Mets and Rangers are both waiting. But the Mets are waiting for more things—the resolution of the draft pick debate, the price to lower substantially—than the Rangers are. Bourn is from Texas, there’s no individual income tax in Texas, and the Rangers are a better team with a legitimate shot at the World Series. If he’s going to take short money, it will be from the Rangers and not the Mets.

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  1. #1 by Andee on February 8, 2013 - 4:45 am

    Well…except that the Rangers could swoop in right now and get him at a reduced price, if it was what they wanted to do. Boras is Bourn’s employee; if Bourn says, “Take the Texas deal, I don’t care what it is, I just want to get this done,” Boras will comply. If there is a Texas deal, that is, and Jon Daniels so far has done nothing but yawn through this entire episode. His strategy seems to be, “Let the Angels choke on their own money, I’ve got Jurickson Profar.”

    Boras won’t admit it, of course, but he knows (if he isn’t in complete and total denial) that he’s not going to get the 75/5 deal for Bourn now. It’s February 7, for the love of Tug. He can try, holding the staring contest for the next two weeks or so until the mandatory reporting date, but whether he’s dealing with Sandy, Jack Z., or Jon D., he’s dealing with a GM who is on to every trick in his book and is not going to be fooled by “mystery team” BS. His only hope is to get a GM who’s not as savvy as those three interested, and by now, there aren’t many of those left who still need a CF.

    Yeah, TEX has an extra first-rounder, but they’d still have to give up the bonus money for that first-rounder, and that’s what would be a real bite. That’s what the sticking point really is with all these teams picking in the lower third. In the past, Bourn would have cost the draft pick, but not the bonus money, and he’d at least have his pillow deal by now. But that’s one hell of an expensive pillow now.

    • #2 by admin on February 8, 2013 - 4:03 pm

      I’d say Bourn telling Boras to get a deal done is a desperation move that’s at least a month away. They know what they’re getting when they hire Boras and with the new rules, I don’t think any other agent have been successful getting a deal done unless Bourn had re-signed with the Braves. And Boras never does that unless the player tells him to do it as Jered Weaver did.

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