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.
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.