PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Major League Baseball and the Players' Association have engaged in preliminary talks about whether the Mets' 11th overall pick in the draft ought to be protected if they sign free agent Michael Bourn.
"Inquiring/position nature at this point in time," one source described the level of conversation.
Another source familiar with the dialogue said it had been superficial -- not the type of substantive conversation that would take place prior to some type of grievance procedure.
Sources have indicated any conversations would not be substantive until the Mets and Bourn had progressed to the point where a deal with the free agent was within reach.
The Mets have asserted the 11th overall pick in the draft ought to be protected because the intent of the rule was to protect the teams with the 10 worst records the previous season from losing their first-round pick by signing a premium free agent. MLB disputes that assertion, since the collective bargaining agreement reads that the first 10 picks in the draft are protected. The Pittsburgh Pirates leapfrogged the Mets and jumped into the top 10 because they failed to sign their 2012 first-round pick.
No deal between the Mets and Bourn is considered imminent.