Alderson: Fifth year for Bourn was stumbling block

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Even if the Mets had received a positive ruling on their Draft pick concerns in their pursuit of outfielder Michael Bourn, they may not have signed him to a free-agent contract. General manager Sandy Alderson said Wednesday that Bourn's desire for a fifth-year vesting option was critical to New York's decision to bow out of negotiations.

"There were two issues," Alderson said. "One was the fifth-year vest, which we viewed as a fifth year in the contract at the levels we were talking about. We weren't prepared to go to five years, and they had known that for some time. The vest was a big issue for us."

The Mets previously made their stance with regard to the 11th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft well known. If the league ruled that the Mets would have to forfeit their first-round pick to sign Bourn, they would not have proceeded.

But it never reached that point because neither the Mets nor Bourn caved in negotiations. Bourn sought a fifth-year option, which he ultimately received in his four-year, $48 million deal with the Indians. Alderson indicated he was unwilling to add that clause, even if it meant losing out on a premium free agent.

"There's some disappointment, obviously," Alderson said. "We made a strong effort to try to sign him and weren't able to do it, which is unfortunate. But, nonetheless, we move on."