I took about 2 hours typing this up on Sunday night after looking at AA for the past two months but never creating an account. I created it on Sunday night but I couldn’t post this until after the AAOP deadline. I know I’m not eligible for the contest, but I took the time to type it so I might as well post it. Enjoy – feel free to comment.
My 2010 New York Mets AAOP
EXPLANATION: Perez is owed $24 million over the next 2 seasons. He is one of several bad free agent pitching signings from a myriad of teams in the past few years. Just accept the fact that he will be throwing for the New York Mets next season, for better or worse. Put him as a #5 starter, hope that you get glimpses of the ‘’good Ollie’’ every few weeks, and just keep cursing Omar Minaya for giving him this contract until he is no longer the general manager of the New York Mets. That, or just secretly hope that he gets hurt or pitches a gem against the Phillies every now and then?
As for Castillo, I know everyone is ready to toss him aside and get Orlando Hudson or Felipe Lopez. Besides the fact that Placido Polanco is the only second baseman I’d really like here (Hudson lost his job in LA and Lopez is about as hot-and-cold as they come), no one is going to take Castillo unless we take back a bad contract. I can’t rationalize having a hothead like Milton Bradley or Jose Guillen getting returned for Castillo for the sake of trying to sign Orlando Hudson for the same price we had Castillo signed for. That would be doubling up on a bad investment, as Orlando Hudson is no sure thing either. Castillo is a sunken cost – so the best thing we could do is accept his barely average defense and hope that he gets a .400 on-base percentage next year out of the #2 hole.
2: Start John Maine in the bullpen next season as an option-in-waiting.
EXPLANATION: I really like John Maine, and I wish he would stop walking people and get healthy. If late-year starts are any indication, we could hope that he builds upon his last start of the year and gets back to that point where he is a reliable Major League starter. I would tender Maine a contract but start him out in long-relief to stretch him out, and then allow him to start again when injuries or inefficiencies arise. It is better to keep him around as an option than to plug him in as a rotation cog for next season (as they did last year).
3: Send Josh Thole down to AAA to start next season.
EXPLANATION: … with intentions of having him come up as soon as the Mets realize that Omir Santos really sucks. He wasn’t quite ready to be a major leaguer yet, but it is good that he got that taste of the majors. Now go back down to Buffalo, learn your position better, and be prepared for a phone call.
FREE AGENT SIGNINGS
1: Sign OF Matt Holliday to a 6-year, $120 million contract.
EXPLANATION: I don’t feel that Holliday deserves the money that Mark Teixeira made, but I also feel that a 6-year commitment at $20/million year is more than enough. My reasoning extends beyond the need for power in left field. Not only does the culture of the current team need to be changed, but this would make the big splash that would make the Mets and their fans forget about the past couple of years. In thinking about the future, Holliday, Johan Santana and David Wright would make up the (likely) future of the New York Mets, with Carlos Beltran’s knees past the next two seasons being an issue, and Jose Reyes’ growth hinging on whether he gets extended in the future. Even if Beltran and Reyes don’t return in the future, the Mets still have a plan with Holliday signed through his age-35 season.
2: Sign LHP Randy Wolf to a 3-year, $30 million contract.
EXPLANATION: I am somewhat biased, as I’ve been a fan of Randy Wolf for years. The injuries that bothered him in Philadelphia are long gone, as his past two seasons have been healthy ones. He has always been a decent strikeout pitcher, has very good breaking stuff, and would make an excellent #3 starter on this team. He had a great season in 2009 and stepped up as a leader of the staff when Los Angeles needed him most. There is the argument of the NL West being a contributing factor to his success, but he was very good at the end of 2008 in Houston as well. I can’t justify spending all that money on John Lackey when a bunch of teams will be in for his services. And in not undervaluing the impact of fan loyalty, the Wolf Pack would make its way to Citi Field – tell me you wouldn’t want to see that happen!!!
3: Sign 1B/OF Aubrey Huff to a 2-year, $6 million contract.
EXPLANATION: Firstly, I would not even touch bringing Carlos Delgado back. After an injury-pledged 2009 season, I can’t bring Delgado back with an open mind considering that he was such a big part of the core in the past. I think the culture of the team needs to be changed, and that starts with Delgado going elsewhere.
Now onto Huff: I know that the Mets have another left-handed first baseman in Daniel Murphy, and I also know that Huff was absolutely miserable in Detroit. However, he was a Silver Slugger in ’08 with Baltimore and had a decent season in ’09 with them as well. Bill James has him projected at .267/20/66 in this upcoming season, which I wouldn’t expect to be much better if Delgado were around. Huff is not a terrible defensive first baseman and could also spell Jeff Francoeur in right field as a left-handed platoon partner if Francoeur struggles in a full-time role (even though his outfield defense stinks). At the very worst, Huff would be a solid bench bat. At the most, he would be a solid power-hitting first baseman at a reduced rate.
I’m guessing this would be a reasonable contract, as his performance (or lack thereof) in Detroit might linger in the minds of GMs.
4: Sign C Gregg Zaun to a 1-year, $2 million contract.
EXPLANATION: It’s simple: Zaun is a switch-hitting catcher and would be a temporary solution to a long-standing problem since Paul Lo Duca left the team. Bengie Molina was hobbling around the field late last year and his OBP was WORSE than his batting average for about 3 months of the season last year. Zaun is a veteran, knows how to get on base and take pitches, and is a perfect stopgap until something better arises. Plus, we could plug Josh Thole in if Santos is ineffective without sacrificing the platoon.
5: Sign RHP Justin Speier to a minor league contract.
EXPLANATION: He has been pretty miserable in the past two years, but the guy has been successful in years past. He was a main cog in that bullpen with Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez for all of those Angels playoff runs. Definitely worth a look…
6: Sign RHP Juan Rincon to a minor league contract.
EXPLANATION: Same concept: throw it against the wall, see what sticks…
7: Sign RHP Eric Gagne to a minor league contract.
EXPLANATION: I know the controversy behind this one: Gagne is a former steroid user and he will likely be blackballed by teams in his attempt to return to the Majors. But then again, wouldn’t you want to be the team that struck gold with a solid 8th inning pitcher for nothing, just because you gave a former CY YOUNG winner an invite to spring training? This move really can’t hurt, regardless of how crappy Gagne was in Milwaukee two years ago. Everyone knows that, if Gagne were to kill major league pitching next year at minimum salary, you guys will be on this website screaming your head off that we didn’t take the opportunity to sign him.
8: Give three journeymen left-handed relievers an invitation to spring training.
The thinking here is that, K-Rod, Green, and Feliciano are main members of this bullpen. The other members make no difference – just fill out spots. Hell, bring Scott Schoeneweis back if need be (JUST KIDDING!!!)
9: Sign RHP Nelson Figueroa to a minor league contract.
EXPLANATION: Figgy has kind of acquired a cult following here. I like him, he’s a local boy, and he would just provide depth either in the case of injury or for AAA Buffalo’s rotation.
10: Sign IF Mark Loretta to a 1-year, $2 million contract.
EXPLANATION: Loretta is one of the most underrated players of our time. I was hoping the Mets would sign him last year, and they blessed us with Alex Cora. Anyway, Loretta plays all around the infield, is a solid veteran leader, and has never been an easy out. Sounds good for our bench!
11: Sign IF Ruben Gotay to a minor league contract.
EXPLANATION: Welcome back, Rube!
EXPLANATION: I can’t see the Mets spending all that money on John Lackey, nor do I want to see another free agent starter be on the books for the next 5 years at more than $10 million a year with Santana on the team. I’ll also apply that logic to the situation with Roy Halladay. I know a quick fix is reasonable now, but I don’t want to pay Roy Halladay $21 million in 2015 after I gutted my farm system to get him. The Mets already made that type of trade for Johan Santana – now imagine a new GM that isn’t anxious to get rid of him (thanks again, Bill Smith!!) and then imagine the package going to Toronto for Halladay. Not worth it to me…
Now regardless of what you think of Harang, the guy was an absolute force until DUSTY BAKER became the manager of the Cincinnati Reds in 2008. Regardless of whether this was the reason for his ineffectiveness, Harang is owed $10 million next season (with the $2.5 million being applied), and has a mutual option for 2011. If Harang is effective, that could allow us to pick up the option at $13-$14 million. If he fails, it was a decent high-reward risk that allows us to reject the option and take the $2.5 million hit, but dive into the free agent market for a starter in a packed free agent class next offseason. It is not a long-term investment that could really hurt us in the future – unlike a Halladay acquisition or something along those lines.
From the Reds standpoint, they are freeing up $10 million on next year’s payroll, $2 million on next year’s payroll, and they’re getting a solid infield prospect in Havens along with some possible help on the pitching staff in Rustich and Kunz.
1: Sign OF Jeff Francoeur to a 1 year, $4 million contract.
EXPLANATION: Francoeur bought him a year in New York after he played out the string with his finger in a sling. Francoeur bought my respect with that move. He no longer has that pressure put upon him that existed in Atlanta, and I think he wants to be here. That, and I feel that David Wright will have a very positive effect on him.
2: Sign SP John Maine to a 1-year, $3 million contract.
3: Sign LHP Pedro Feliciano to a 1-year, $2.5 million contract.
4: Sign RHP Sean Green to a 1-year, $750,000 contract.
5: Sign OF Angel Pagan to a 1-year, $600,000 contract.
EXPLANATION: Pretty self-explanatory.
1: SS Jose Reyes (S)
2: 2B Luis Castillo (S)
3: CF Carlos Beltran (S)
4: LF Matt Holliday (R)
5: 3B David Wright (R)
6: RF Jeff Francoeur (R)
7: 1B Aubrey Huff (L)
8: C Gregg Zaun (S)
OF: Angel Pagan (S)
IF/OF: Daniel Murphy (L)
IF: Mark Loretta (R)
C: Omir Santos (R)
IF/OF: Nick Evans (R)
EXPLANATION: The top three of the order remains the same. Reyes, if healthy, would benefit greatly from a healthy Castillo given his plate discipline. The 4-6 spots in the lineup would be extremely right-handed, but I would bat Francoeur behind Wright to perhaps get him some solid RBI opportunities for a month or two to get him off to a good start. The bottom half of the order also has some pop with Francoeur and Huff.
The bench has a great middle infielder in Loretta, a good 4th outfielder in Angel Pagan, a right-handed bat with some opportunities in Nick Evans (perhaps at first in a platoon). As for Daniel Murphy, I’d get him accustomed to playing anywhere needed. He will share at-bats with Huff and Evans at first as well. I feel that first base won’t be such an eyesore with the team finally getting some pop from a corner outfield position.
1: LHP Johan Santana
2: RHP Aaron Harang
3: LHP Randy Wolf
4: RHP Mike Pelfrey
5: LHP Oliver Perez
DEPTH: LHP Jon Niese, RHP John Maine, RHP Dillon Gee, RHP Nelson Figueroa, RHP Fernando Nieve
EXPLANATION: Harang, if healthy, would make a fantastic #2 starter behind Santana. Even if Johan were to go down with an injury (God forbid!), Harang has been the Ace of the Reds for five years. I don’t think he’d miss a beat if he was healthy. As for Wolf and Pelfrey, they make a great #3-#4 combo. And as for Oliver Perez, he would either be effective or replaced by a rejuvenated Maine or an up-and-coming Niese in this scenario.
Also, aside from Harang, this is a fairly healthy starting rotation. I would not want Justin Duchscherer, Erik Bedard, Ben Sheets, or Rich Harden going anywhere near this rotation. Those four guys are walking time bombs, especially those with emotional problems like Bedard and Duchscherer. This is New York, not a city in the Midwest.
RHP Francisco Rodriguez
RHP Sean Green
LHP Pedro Feliciano
RHP Bobby Parnell
RHP Brian Stokes
RHP John Maine
RHP (Justin Speier, Eric Gagne, Juan Rincon, etc.)/LHP (Jack Taschner, Patrick Misch, Jamie Walker)
EXPLANATION: By the way, that seven man bullpen is contingent upon Maine moving out of the bullpen in due time, plus at least one of those guys sticking.
Bullpens are like going out on dates with several women. You go out with enough, sooner or later something is bound to stick and one of them will be acceptable. If not, you keep trying until you find one. There are so many relievers, and so many non-tender candidates in this upcoming offseason, that I wouldn’t spend a dime on relievers. That especially applies when you have a $12 million closer. The Mets should just invite a bunch of guys with past success to spring training and see what happens.
2010 AND 2011 PAYROLL COMMITMENTS
2010: $9 million; 2011: $11 million option
2010: $6 million; 2011: $6 million
2010: $18.5 million; 2011: $18.5 million
2010: $20 million; 2011: $20 million
2010: $10 million; 2011: $14 million
2010: $4 million; 2011: ARB
2010: $3 million; 2011: $3 million
2010: $2 million; 2011: F/A
2010: $600,000; 2011: ARB
2010: $400,000; 2011: $400,000
2010: $2 million; 2011: F/A
2010: $400,000; 2011: $400,000
2010: $400,000; 2011: $400,000
2010 Lineup Commitments: $76.3 million
2011 Lineup Commitments: $72.7 million (w/ Reyes’ option picked up)
2010: $21 million; 2011: $22.5 million
2010: $10 million; 2011: $14 million ($2.5 million buyout)
2010: $10 million; 2011: $10 million
2010: $400,000; 2011: ARB?
2010: $12 million; 2011: $12 million
2010: $11.5 million; 2011: $11.5 million
2010: $3 million; 2011: ARB
2010: $750,000; 2011: ARB
2010: $2.5 million; 2011: F/A
2010: $400,000; 2011: $400,000
2010: $400,000; 2011: ARB?
Justin Speier/Eric Gagne/Juan Rincon/Ron Villone/Jamie Walker/Pat Misch/etc.
2010: $400,000; 2011: F/A
(I will put those players up as one, with the possibility of more than one of them making the roster, obviously).
2010 Pitching Commitments: $72.35 million
2011 Pitching Commitments: $70.4 million ($58.9 million without Harang’s option)
2010 Total Payroll: $148.65 million
2011 Total Payroll: $143.1 million ($132.6 million without Harang)
EXPLANATION: $149 million is a few million more than where the Mets were last season, with new expectations with Matt Holliday around. The 2010 offseason sets up a little restrictively for this team payroll-wise, but the entire core of the team would be intact with Reyes, Wright, Holliday, and Beltran in the lineup and the rotation still intact with Wolf and Santana and Harang’s option being picked up, or else a few million to play with since losing Harang would save us $11.5 million.
The 2011 offseason would also become extremely exciting and telling for the Mets. Perez, Castillo, Beltran, and Reyes would be coming off the books, and the team would have a bunch of decisions to make at that point. That, and since we will have most of our prospects still around at that point, hopefully guys like Holt, Davis, and Martinez will begin taking the place of the big-money contracts.
Thank you for reading, AA!!