Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Interest in free agent outfielder Michael Bourn figures to pick up in the near future.
Michael Bourn is far-and-away the best free agent position player remaining on the open market, and now that the Arizona Diamondbacks have traded Justin Upton interest in him figures to develop. Jon Heyman notes that potential suitors are starting to emerge, and he lists several as possible fits for Bourn, including the New York Mets, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.
Heyman considers most of these teams as long shots, but he doesn't think they'd be "major surprises." His list of long shots includes the Rays, Phillies and Orioles. The Yankees and Dodgers should probably be added to this bunch, as they are unlikely to acquire Bourn without trading a player to open up a spot.
The Mets had been tied to Scott Hairston, but Heyman says they let him sign with the Cubs because they were interested in a "bigger player." New York didn't have a connection to Upton before he was dealt to the Atlanta Braves, so Heyman believes Bourn "has to be the guy they are considering."
New York has money to spend, but they are concerned about surrendering their top draft pick to sign Bourn. They are in the process of attempting to win a ruling that would allow them to send their second-round pick to the Braves rather than No. 11 overall.
The Rangers haven't been tied to Bourn for some time, but Heyman notes they could make a play for him. Texas has lost Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli, and they are currently set to use the relatively unproven Leonys Martin in center field.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN views the Rangers as the best fit for Bourn, but they aren't expected to sign him or fellow free agent and Scott Boras client Kyle Lohse this winter, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
The Cubs and Mariners also make Heyman's list, as both have expressed interest in Bourn. Still, it remains to be determined if Bourn has interest in signing with either club.
Heyman believes it will take a five-year commitment in the range of $15 million per year to sign Bourn.
The one thing that is certain at this point is the uncertainty that continues to surround Bourn. Considering he's the lone high-profile position player remaining on the open market as well as a Boras client, it figures to be an interesting ride the rest of the way.