- Doug Mittler, ESPN Insider
The countdown to spring training can now be made in days rather than weeks, and center fielder Michael Bourn remains the top free agent position player still looking for work.
The Mets have often been linked to Bourn, and general manager Sandy Alderson would not completely rule out a deal in comments made to the New York media on Monday. Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports a deal with Bourn still appears to be a long shot, but the Mets "remain engaged" with agent Scott Boras.
At issue is Bourn’s contract demands and whether the Mets could have to forfeit the 11th overall pick in the draft to sign him. The Pirates forced the Mets from the protected top 10 list of picks by getting a compensatory pick for failing to sign its 2012 first-round selection. The Mets feel the spirit of the law has been violated, but have yet to ask MLB for a clarification, which Alderson says they can’t do unless they actually sign Bourn.
While admitting he remains in talks with Bourn, Alderson added his roster is not likely to change between now and spring training.
Meanwhile, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reported last week the Rangers have not renewed their interest in Bourn even after a Miami New Times report links Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz to an anti-aging clinic that reportedly sold performance-enhancing drugs.