Matthew Cerrone , Lead Writer
Having talked to people close to the situation, I’m pretty positive there is no way Sandy Alderson will give free-agent OF Michael Bourn a guaranteed five-year contract, regardless of what MLB decides to do with the team’s top draft pick.
This is hardly news, because (if you’ve been listening to Alderson on record the last few years) you know his position on aging veterans, second-generation contracts and asset allocation. Bourn strikes out on all three. Also, as I understand it, Alderson’s staff is not in favor of giving big money to older players whose value is heavily tied to their speed, since they almost all start losing value in their early 30s. Bourn is 30.
This is why (assuming MLB protects Alderson’s first-round pick) baseball insiders expect the Mets to offer Bourn a three-year deal, guaranteed, but with options at the end of the contract, and a player’s opt-out clause after one year. At the very least, for one season, the Mets would get a really good, defensive center fielder with speed, who is coming off a career year. Then, they can reassess, knowing they’ll have significantly more money to spend after next season. Meanwhile, if he’s a bust, he will probably have the choice to stick it out and stay in New York for two more years and work towards getting those option years picked up. If he has a great 2013, or not, he can opt out and look for a better, long-term deal, during what will be a very weak free-agent outfield market.