- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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A reliable major league source with knowledge of the Mets' plans would not dismiss the possibility outfielder Michael Bourn could end up with the team.
Bourn, 30, remains a free agent with 19 days until Mets pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Signing Bourn would cause the Mets to forfeit the 11th overall pick in the draft, which is unprotected. That was something as recently as a few weeks ago that Sandy Alderson all but indicated he was unwilling to do.
“We don’t want to lose our first-round draft pick,” Alderson told the Star-Ledger on Jan. 8. “We think that’s one of the ways we got into the predicament we’ve had over the past couple of years. We’ve very wary of that. It’s not our M.O.”
Alderson did not immediately reply to an email inquiry Wednesday morning about whether his stance had changed.
Bourn is represented by Scott Boras, which would seem to present another obstacle. Although he surprisingly deposited Rafael Soriano with the Yankees as a set-up man before the 2011 season when a better opportunity did not materialize, Boras generally finds lucrative deals for his clients and does not gift wrap team-favorable deals.
Bourn hit .274 with nine homers, 57 RBIs and 42 steals in 624 at-bats with the Atlanta Braves last season. He primarily has played center field during his major league career.
The Mets have a glaring need in their outfield. Currently, Lucas Duda is slated to play left field, with Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill platooning in center field. Until another addition is made, Mike Baxter and Andrew Brown would appear the two logical candidates to pencil in for right field.
Bourn also would provide the Mets with a bona fide leadoff hitter, which they currently lack.