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.
On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.
We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.
Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:
Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.
Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.
Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.
I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.
“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.
Four. More. Years.