Conflicting reports on the Mets’ interest in Michael Bourn

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There has been a lot of chatter about the Mets and Michael Bourn in the past day or so. It breaks down like this:

  • John Harper of the Daily News says that he has been told that the Mets have a real interest in Bourn.
  • He also reports that the Mets not signing Scott Hairston, who just went to the Cubs, had more to do with playing time than with money, meaning that the Mets do not think they can give enough playing time to Bourn.
  • Given that the Mets outfield, currently constructed, is butt, the strong suggestion here is that the Mets plan to get an outfielder who is better than Hairston, which describes Bourn.
  • Bourn would cost anyone who signs him a first round pick, as long as it’s not in the top 10. The Mets current first round pick is the 11th. It would have been the tenth, however, if the Pirates had not been granted the 10th pick as compensation for their inability to sign their first round pick this past summer. So, Harper says, the Mets have petitioned the league to protect their 11th pick, surrendering  a second round pick instead, in the event they sign a player, like Bourn, who was given a qualifying offer.

So, that adds up to the Mets being in on Bourn, right? Well:

 

That kind of throws cold water on it.

Still, what is Boras’ price for Bourn at this point? It’s pushing February, and his client, one of the guys most folks assumed would snag top dollar this winter, is unsigned. Could that price be plummeting? It’s hard to imagine that it is given Boras’ track record. But we have seen him do things like agree to deferred money (the Rafael Soriano contract) so maybe he’s willing to be uber creative in order to ensure that Bourn, you know, gets a job.

Anyway, that’s the Michael Bourn-Mets situation right now.  It’s hard to imagine the Mets going in on him either because of the money or the draft pick, but throw in both and, boy, it’s even harder.  But people are still chirping about it, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.