Spring training begins in less than a week, and speedy Michael Bourn does not have a home.
The 30-year-old center fielder, who garnered MVP votes for his stellar play with the Atlanta Braves last season, has been tied to numerous clubs during free agency, but no one has pulled the trigger on his high asking price.
The New York Mets are the leaders to sign Bourn, but ever-influential agent Scott Boras is still trying to tick up his client’s earning power by claiming plenty of offers are still available, according to the New York Post.
It is believed Bourn is seeking a three or four-year deal in the neighborhood of $15 million per season, and the Mets are apprehensive on both the fourth year and the annual salary demands.
The Cleveland Indians also have interest in Bourn, but only if his price drops, according to ESPN, though Cleveland did fill out their outfield with power-hitting Nick Swisher.
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Signing Bourn has the extra cost of the Mets first round draft pick. Originally, New York had the 10th worst record in baseball, and thus owned the No. 10 overall pick, but were bumped down to the 11th pick after the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to sign their first round choice last season.
The idea has been floated that the Mets could sign Bourn, and then work with the MLB Player’s Association to file a grievance in the hopes of keeping their first round draft choice, reported the Daily News.
Bourn posted 96 runs, with 26 doubles, 10 triples, and 42 stolen bases in 155 games last season for Atlanta. That kind of production could certainly help an anemic Mets' offense that was 25th in runs scored, and second to last in the NL in stolen bases.
If both sides come to terms, Bourn may replace current starting center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who made his major league debut last season hitting .252 for seven home runs and 28 RBIs in 282 plate appearances.
The Mets have seen first hand just how dominate a player Bourn can be. Last season he batted .308 and scored 10 runs with seven stolen bases in 16 games against New York.