Significant obstacles remain, but the Mets' interest in free agent center fielder Michael Bourn appears genuine -- at the right price.

General manager Sandy Alderson and assistant general manager John Ricco flew down to Houston last week and dined with Bourn and his agent Scott Boras, according to The New York Post.

Bourn is the most prominent name remaining on the free-agent market. He could bolster an unproven Mets outfield. He would instantly become the team's leadoff hitter. But the Mets' pursuit remains complicated.

First, there is the contract: The 30-year-old Bourn wants a five-year deal. The Mets don't plan to go further than three years for a player whose game relies on speed.

Then, there's the Mets' unique draft-pick compensation dilemma.

The first 10 picks in next June's draft are protected – if a team with a top-10 pick signs a protected free agent, they only give up their second-round pick. The Mets finished with the league's 10th-worst record last season. They were supposed to pick 10th in the draft.