Mets general manager Sandy Alderson revealed that he offered Michael Bourn basically the same four-year, $48 million contract that the speedy center fielder ended up signing with the Indians.
So why did Bourn choose Cleveland over New York? Because the Indians also gave him a fifth-year team option for 2017 that vested at $12 million with 550 plate appearances in 2016 and Alderson was unwilling to include that in the Mets’ offer.
“We viewed [it] as a fifth year in the contract at the levels we were talking about or that they were talking about,” Alderson told Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star Ledger. “And we weren’t prepared to go to five years and they had known that for some time so the vest was a big issue for us.”
Trying to predict how many plate appearances a 33-year-old Bourn would get in 2016 is tough, but the fact that he’s racked up 703, 722, 605, and 678 in the past four seasons suggests he’d top 550 if healthy. Toss in the Mets’ reluctance to forfeit the 11th overall pick in the draft to sign Bourn and Alderson’s reasoning for not matching the Indians’ entire offer is pretty clear.
Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.
This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.
So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.
The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.