There's been a lot of talk recently about free agent outfielder Michael Bourn, who is one of the biggest names still available in free agency here in late January.

The New York Mets are in need of MLB-caliber outfielders, and the 30-year-old Bourn certainly fits the bill. So what gives?

A lot of my Twitter followers have been asking me why the Mets aren't making a bigger push for Bourn, and I wanted to address that in a little more than 140 characters.

Let me start by saying that I like Bourn as a player. By no means do I intend to use this space to attack him as a player or as a person. That's not the concern I have with him.

There are two enormous obstacles to signing Michael Bourn. One is his agent, Scott Boras. The other is the complicated draft pick compensation attached to him.

Since Bourn turned down a qualifying offer from the Atlanta Braves, any team outside of the top ten of the draft would have to forfeit a draft pick to sign him.

Unfortunately, the Mets are unlucky number 11. They finished with the tenth-worst record, but since the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to sign their 2012 top pick, they bump the Mets to 11.

If they were to sign Bourn, the Mets would forfeit not only their first round pick, but also the allotted money for that pick, which could cripple their entire draft.

The way the MLB Draft works now, teams are given a capped budget for their first ten picks of a given draft, a non-negotiable figure that cannot be exceeded under any circumstances.

Last year, the Mets had a total budget of roughly $7 million, and their top pick was valued at about $2.55 million, or 35% of their total budget.

While those numbers may be different in 2013, it's reasonable to expect that their top pick will be roughly 25-35% of their total budget. That's a lot to give up for Michael Bourn.

Signing Bourn would essentially mean forfeiting a high draft pick and potentially a third or so of their total draft budget. Bourn is simply not worth giving up all of that.

I understand where Mets fans are coming from. The Mets need an outfielder (or two, or three) and Bourn is the best outfielder available in free agency.

But the price to pay for signing him will have a ripple effect that goes far beyond the years and dollars owed to the speedy centerfielder.

Michael Bourn is not single-handedly going to turn the 2013 Mets into contenders. The Mets would be wise to take their lumps, keep their draft pick and build from within.

It may not be what fans want to hear, but that's the reality of the situation. Making a move just to make a move is a short-sighted solution, and it would do more harm than good.

 

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