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Mets lost Michael Bourn over 2017 vesting option

Feb 14, 2013, 1:20 PM EDT

Michael Bourn AP

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.

  1. natsysammich - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Haha, I just love the pictures you guys use for Bourn pieces. He always looked like he was gonna start crying when our pitchers struck him out all last year. At least with the Indians he will face crappier pitchers more often than not.

  2. chill1184 - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Vesting options; the calling card of Omar Minaya

  3. tcostant - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Nice of Sandy Alderson to not leave that fifth year on the table for the new GM that will be there long before 2017.

    • illegalblues - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      what in the world has alderson done wrong? met’s have had no money and he hasn’t signed squat

      • tcostant - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        Not trading Reyes when they knew he would command more than they could afford on the open market. They should have made him a take it or leave it offer that July and traded him if he decline. Similar to what the Phils did will Hamels. You have to get something more than draft picks for Reyes.

      • illegalblues - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        reyes got hurt in july. team was never going to get much more value than the draft pick back.

      • tcostant - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:09 PM

        That just isn’t true. They would have and could have gotten more player closer to the bigs with just has high upside as the picks. Big mistake.

      • illegalblues - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        that’s easy to just haul off and say but it’s not really grounded in reality. check out the last few deadlines. not much going down. especially for INJURED PLAYERS

      • tomgallagher76 - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:38 AM

        Not signing anyone is exactly the right move at this time. The team isn’t going to win this year, and adding a high priced player who will likely not be worth the money in a few years won’t buy them anything more than a couple of more wins and an albatross contract when a few years from now. The Mets have been there and done that. Instead, Alderson has rebuilt a solid farm system with a few really solid pieces ready to hit the bigs by 2014. Once they mature he will have them under team control and won’t have a ton invested financially in them. He can then go and drop some big money on free agents to compliment them. Rather that a shot in the dark with a mortgage on the future, he’s quietly building a long-term winner. He hasn’t been 100% perfect. I agree he should have seen the market for Reyes was over-valued and traded him. Brad Emaus was a bad move. Despite a few misteps however, Alderson has been overwhelmingly successful in putting this team on what appears to be the right track.

  4. jibzek - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Actually a fairly decent deal, considering Tacoby Bellsbery will want $100 million + and can’t stay on the field.

  5. bolweevils2 - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    As a Met fan, I think Alderson did the right thing.

    • blantoncollier - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      As an Indians fan, I think Alderson did the right thing!

      • thebadguyswon - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        You can have him. It’s a pretty good contract, but you owe him 12 mill per through age 34 and the man has no power whatsoever. The Mets are purging themselves of those kinds of deals.

  6. dabrowns91 - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    If Bourn is slowing down in 2016, he will never see that 5th year. There are easy ways to control how many plate appearances he gets and the Tribe will make sure he doesn’t hit 550 if they don’t want to pay him.

    On a side note, can you imagine if the Indians would have given Josh Willingham the extra year that he wanted last offseason? That would be one sick lineup.

    • tomgallagher76 - Feb 15, 2013 at 1:29 AM

      That’s a circus distraction your team doesn’t want. Bourn and Boras start speculating in the media that the team is only benching him so he won’t hit his vesting option, the team is actually doing that but won’t admit it for the PR hit. bad blood lingers. It becomes a distraction.

  7. unclemosesgreen - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    No rooting interest here teamwise except for residual affection for Francona. Alderson did the wrong thing offering Bourn so much in the first place, and walked away from the table at the right time. Good fold.

  8. mazblast - Feb 18, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    I have an idea. Let’s defer judgment on this whole vesting issue until 2017. Time and time alone will tell us who was right.

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