Mets Hit Port St. Lucie Without Michael Bourn

Bourn signs with Indians as Mets make their way to camp

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Bourn Intervention won't be coming to Queens.

    Center fielder Michael Bourn's long stay on the free agent market ended Monday when he signed a four-year deal with an option for a fifth year with the Indians. 

    The biggest losers in New York might be the tabloids. The News, Post and Newsday all went with "Bourn Loser" as their back page headline on Tuesday, giving us one short glimpse at how many Bourn-related puns we'll miss out on now that Bourn is plying his trade for an Ohio team. 

    As for the Mets, it's hard to say that things look considerably different for them than they did on Sunday. There are a couple of reasons for that. 

    The first is that Bourn's arrival wouldn't have dramatically changed the outlook for the season to come. Bourn has been worth a little more than five wins on average over the last four years, a number that would be helpful for the Mets but isn't likely to be what gets them into the playoffs. 

    Beyond that, Bourn's skills are very reliant on speed and that's not something that's likely to hold up over the life of a four-year contract for a 30-year-old player. Perhaps that's why the Mets never seemed all that serious about signing him. 

    That apparent lack of interest is the second reason things don't look all that different at this hour. The Mets had plenty of reasons why signing Bourn didn't make sense -- the age factor, the length of the contract, the likelihood that they'd have to surrender the 11th overall pick in the draft -- but none were so great that they should have overcome a player that Sandy Alderson really wanted. 

    Alderson's public take on Bourn was very different than that, which is why those headlines have the word losers splashed across the paper in big letters. Alderson's talked a lot about the Mets being close to contention, which made Bourn take on a much bigger space in the collective mind of Mets fans and media over the last few weeks.

    That was a mistake by Alderson before Bourn signed and it is an even bigger one now that the Mets are prepared to go with a Kirk Nieuwenhuis/Collin Cowgill platoon in center. Bourn's arrival means that Drew Stubbs could go on the trade block in Cleveland, something that will be discussed in addition to the Mets even if Stubbs' sub-.300 on-base percentage doesn't make him a clear upgrade on what's already in Port St. Lucie. 

    And that's not the worst thing in the world. The Mets have made it pretty clear that their eyes aren't focused on 2013, something they probably should just be up front about in the future to avoid looking like born losers when players wind up in other cities. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.