Playing Fact or Fiction with the Latest New York Mets Rumor

Jason LempertCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 16: Michael Bourn #24 of the Atlanta Braves scores a seventh inning run against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field on September 16 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

In case you haven't been following closely, only one major rumor is swirling around the New York Mets at the present time.

Whether or not they will sign free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn.

The speedy 30-year-old remains one of the top unsigned free agents on the market, and there's no question the Mets are in search of a center fielder and a leadoff hitter (ideally, they would be one in the same, of course).

The major obstacle in Bourn finding a new home is his tie to draft-pick compensation.

In November, Bourn declined the Atlanta Braves' qualifying offer of a $13.3 million contract for 2013. In accordance with the new collective bargaining agreement, that means any team that signs Bourn (or fellow free agent Kyle Lohse) would have to surrender a first-round pick in this coming year's draft.

With the Mets seemingly interested in signing the Houston native, the latest talks have the Mets seeking permission to work around the new agreement and give up a second-round pick instead, according to MLB Trade Rumors and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

The argument for the Mets' case is that, since they finished with one of the 10 worst records in baseball, they are entitled to a first-round draft pick and should be allowed to forfeit a second-rounder instead.

In my opinion, this rumor is going to wind up being fiction.

Even if the Mets are able to get their way regarding the draft-pick scenario, they still need the money required to sign Bourn. According to Jon Heyman, it will likely take something in the neighborhood of a five-year contract worth about $75 million to sign the Scott Boras client.

In the current state of the Mets organization, they are not looking to dish out long-term contracts to players who are 30 years old or older. They seem to be more inclined to fill their holes via trades or more affordable stop-gap options (perhaps a Scott Podsednik or Grady Sizemore type).

There's no question that a Michael Bourn signing would make the Mets a better team in 2013. But with the improvements made to the already tough NL East competition ahead of them, the Mets are still looking at a fourth-place finish (maybe third-place at best), even with Bourn in the fold.

In other words, Bourn alone isn't enough to make this club a true contender in 2013, so is he worth the money he will demand?

I'm saying no.