All of a sudden, the National League East seems a lot friendlier to Atlanta Braves. The New York Mets, who were considered a front runner for free agent and former Atlanta center fielder Michael Bourn, lost out to the Cleveland Indians when Bourn agreed to a four-year contract Monday.
The Mets had made a four-year, $48 million deal, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. Bourn's deal with Cleveland is also worth $48 million, but it also includes a vesting option for a fifth year if he makes 550 plate appearances in the fourth year of his contract.
Had the Mets signed Bourn, they would have been forced to give up their first round draft pick in this year's draft, since we was given a qualifying offer by the Braves and they fell outside the first 10 draft picks, even though an extra pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates bumped them to the 11th pick.
While the Braves can breathe a sigh of relief that Bourn is not only out of the NL but also out of the division, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says the move tarnished the Mets' already rotting credibility by not filing a grievance with Major League Baseball over the collective bargaining agreement.
So, the Mets are now stuck with Lucas Duda, Mike Baxter and Marlon Byrd, among others, as their outfield.
"Now, what they are stuck with is arguably the worst," Heyman writes. "The worst outfield in the bigs, at least if you go by resumes."
Not that anyone expected the Mets to be heavy hitters this year after losing Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, with a catcher in John Buck who can barely crack the Mendoza line and with David Wright as the only truly talented player on the roster. Regardless, it should come as no surprise when Braves perpetually beat up the Mets while they lose 90 or even 100 games.
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