The Mets and Scott Boras are engaged in a game of chicken.
The powerful agent is saying he has attractive offers elsewhere for Michael Bourn. The Mets are essentially challenging him to prove those offers exist by remaining relatively inflexible in what they are willing to spend on the fleet center fielder.
The Mets can discuss a three-year deal for Bourn and hint at willingness to go to a fourth season — as they have done — and once again dare Boras to prove he has someplace else to go.
If the latest rumors are to be believed, Bourn and Boras do not seem to have many other options unless they are willing to drastically lower their price. The Cleveland Indians are "among teams" that would be interested in the speedy outfielder if his price falls "A LOT," but they are out of the running for the time being.
There is always the chance that a mystery team will swoop in at the last moment and give Bourn the years and dollars he's looking for -- Boras has done it pretty recently -- but for the time being it appears as though the Mets have the leverage in negotiations.
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Bourn is believed to be seeking a deal in the neighborhood of five years and $75 million, per Sherman, which would put him on equal footing with the Braves' new center fielder, B.J. Upton. What seems more likely for Bourn at this point, however, is something in between Angel Pagan's four-year, $40 million deal with the Giants and Nick Swisher's four-year, $56 million deal with the Indians.
Even with negotiations ongoing, the Mets are still concerned about the draft pick issue tied to Bourn, and are caught in a bit of a Catch-22 with regards to their petition to the league. According to Sherman, New York does not want to come to an agreement with Bourn unless their appeal to protect their top pick has been approved, but the league will not decide on the petition until the Mets have an agreement with Bourn.