Poll: Michael Bourn’s Next Contract

Michael Bourn entered the offseason as one of the most sought-after free agents in baseball, considered by all authorities (including MLBTR's Tim Dierkes) to be one of the top players available this winter. February is just a few days away, however, and not only is Bourn still unsigned, but he's lacking in obvious suitors that have both the need and the available finances to make a deal. 

Bourn's and agent Scott Boras' demands for a contract in the neighbourhood of five years/$75MM haven't helped open up the market, nor has the fact that signing Bourn would cost a team a high draft pick due to Bourn's rejection of the Braves' qualifying offer.  While the Mets may appeal to MLB in an attempt to sign Bourn and still keep their 11th overall draft choice, it seems unlikely that the league will acquiesce.

Besides the compensatory details, it may be that teams are simply unwilling to commit that much money to a 30-year-old player whose value lies in his speed (257 steals over the last five years) and defense (a +22.5 UZR/150 in center field in 2012), no matter how much Bourn may excel in those categories.  The Mariners, for example, have been linked to Bourn this winter but it is believed that Seattle isn't keen to sign another speed-and-defense oriented free agent given how the Chone Figgins signing backfired on the club.  MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith listed a number of possible suitors for Bourn last month, a list from which we can probably remove at least the Phillies, Indians, Yankees, Braves and Dodgers in the wake of subsequent moves. 

You would think that Bourn's demands would drop given such a seemingly limited market…but this is Scott Boras we're talking about, an agent who has made a career out of getting his clients big deals when none seem available.  That said, Boras could also explore a shorter-term or so-called "pillow contract" for Bourn so the outfielder can re-visit the free market next winter.  Will Bourn take a short-term deal, lower his asking price, or will Boras pull another rabbit out of his hat?

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