The Mets would be “very reluctant’’ to sign a free agent if it means surrendering this year’s first-round draft pick, general manager Sandy Alderson told MLB Network Radio Sunday morning, the latest sign that they still might be long shots to sign outfielder Michael Bourn.
Under rules established in the collective-bargaining agreement, the Mets would lose their 11th overall pick in this year’s draft if they were to sign Bourn, the top free agent left on the market. Only the top 10 selections are protected from compensation.
But the Mets’ draft pick fell out of the top 10 only because the Pirates were awarded a selection ahead of them as compensation for failing to sign last year’s first-round pick, pitcher Mark Appel.
Alderson said Sunday that he wants a sense of whether the Mets can keep their pick before pursuing Bourn. It appears that the Mets might have to force the issue to receive clarification of the rule.
According to sources, Major League Baseball backs a strict interpretation of the rule, meaning that signing Bourn would cost the Mets their 11th overall pick. But the players’ union has taken the Mets’ side and is prepared to file a grievance, which would allow for a ruling without the Mets first having to agree to terms with Bourn.
Alderson also told MLB Network Radio that he might watch another throwing session for former Giants closer Brian Wilson. The Mets are in the market for bullpen help and Wilson might prove to be a fit.