First thing to do is to make sure that if the Padres are going to trade Adrian Gonzalez, they trade him to the Mets. I'd offer Fernando Martinez, Ike Davis (expendable with Gonzalez coming in), John Maine, Wilmer Flores and Brad Holt. If you think that's too much, then it's probably just enough.
Second thing to do is to see how much the Diamondbacks want to dump Chris Snyder. I'd offer Castillo, Mejia and Nick Evans for Snyder and Brandon Webb (last year of his contract at $8.5mil). The D-backs do this trade because they need 2b help, they hate the Snyder contract (3 years $12mil), are afraid they can't keep Webb and because it opens up additonal payroll for them to make a run at Lackey.
Then I'd see if we could sign both Gonzalez and Webb to long-term deals. Given that Webb missed almost the whole season last year, he might sign something like 4 years $50mil if we tear up the $8.5mil for 2010. And Gonzalez, I'd offer Teixeira money as a start.
Third thing to do is to offer Jason Bay a 3-year $45mil contract. I don't love Holliday, and I'm suspicious of any player whose numbers seem so dependant on playing in a certain ballpark. Given the Mets' first year in Citi, I don't want to take a chance of being tied to a guy who has suddenly become a .276 hitter with 38 doubles and 15 home runs for $16mil per over 5-6 years. And since I've used all our trading chips on Webb and Gonzalez, and the drop-off is significant after Bay, I see no other choice. How's that for a ringing endorsement for a $15mil a year player? "We have no other choice!"
Then we need to shore up the bullpen by bringing back Octavio Dotel and bringing in Rafael Betancourt. Last 2 years Dotel has been healthy, pitching to a 3.33 ERA in '09 with 75K in 62.1 IP pitching in a hitters' park in Chicago. Betancourt has career ERA of 3.16 and WHIP of 1.12 with more than 1 K per IP.
Yes, I'd move Murphy to second base. First of all, if he can hit like he did in the second half last year (.282 with 27 doubles) he'll hit plenty for a middle infielder. And secondly, he showed great range and hands at first last year. I think he'd be at least passable at 2nd. I'd bring in someone like Craig Counsell or Adam Kennedy as a utility infielder and as a back-up in case Murphy is no better at second than he was in left field.
And the last thing is to bring in some veteran pitchers on minor league deals like Contreras, Prior, Brett Tomko, Jason Schimdt. Get 2-3 guys like that for the "break glass in case of emergency" situations.
So the lineup is Reyes (ss), Wright (3b), Gonzalez (1b), Beltran (cf), Bay (lf), Francoeur (rf), Murphy (2b), Snyder (c). Santos would share catching duties again, with Thole in AAA. Bring back Tatis, Pagan and Counsell as utility players.
The rotation would be Santana, Webb, Pelfrey, Perez, Niese.
The bullpen would be Rodriguez, Dotel, Betancourt, Feliciano, Parnell, Stokes and Misch.
By my count, if Gonzalez and Webb both agree to long-term contracts starting this year, the Payroll would be about $150mil. If not, it'd be around $135mil.