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.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this:
Earlier, Craig covered Rob Manfred’s comments in which he accused the Major League Baseball Players’ Association of “a lack of cooperation” concerning some proposed rule changes. The union would need to agree to any such changes, which have included automatic intentional walks, limiting mound visits, pitch clocks, and swapping batting practice times for home and visiting teams.
Manfred went on to say that MLB will impose those rule changes unilaterally next year as allowed in the latest collective bargaining agreement.
Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA, responded to Manfred’s comment. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
“Unless your definition of ‘cooperation’ is blanket approval, I don’t agree that we’ve failed to cooperate with the Commissioner’s office on these issues.”
“Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this off season we’ve been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened.”
“I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don’t continue, notwithstanding today’s comments about implementation. As I’ve said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open.”
“My understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2min limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of Game warning/fine adjustments.”
Clark’s response isn’t anything too shocking. Manfred’s accusation was pretty baseless, but it’s behavior to be expected of a commissioner who comes down on the side of the owners over the players almost always.