First off, let's take a look at the definite losses: Carlos Delgado ($16 million) Billy Wagner ($10.5 million) JJ Putz ($5 million) Brian Schneider ($4.9 million) Alex Cora ($2 million) Tim Redding ($2.25 million) Fernando Tatis ($1.7 million) Gary Sheffield ($300,000) Ramon Martinez ($750,000). We've also lost $2 million from the 2009 Opening Day Payroll from trading Castro.
NUMBERS ARE CLOSE APPROXIMATIONS
Opening Day Payroll: $149.4 million
Subtractions: $45.33 million
Additions: $10.25 million
2009 Offseason Payroll: $114.32 million
First off, I'd do a little extra payroll shedding by non-tendering Francoeur to subtract $3.4 million, thus reducing the roll to $110.92 million.
Position Players Catcher: Empty, Omir Santos. First Base: Daniel Murphy, Nick Evans. Second Base: Luis Castillo, Empty. Shortstop: Jose Reyes, Angel Berroa. Third Base: David Wright, Empty. Left Field: Empty, Nick Evans, Jeremy Reed. Center Field: Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan. Right field: Empty, Nick Evans, Jeremy Reed.
Holes to fill: Starting Catcher, Starting Left Fielder, Starting Right Fielder, Backup Second baseman
Starting Catcher: The Mets #1 goal should be to acquire Victor Martinez. There are really no other options out there. The Indians would like a pitching heavy package, but have denied trading him for Clay Buchholz straight up as well as for a Bowden-Masterson combo. I believe that with a combo of John Maine, Brad Holt or Jenrry Mejia, Bobby Parnell and Jeurys Familia, Martinez can be acquired. This would add roughly $4 million to the 2010 payroll
Starting Left Fielder/Right Fielder: There are a deep sea of outfielders available to the Mets or any team, but the ones the Mets should be focused on are ones with pop. No, I don't mean Jason Bay. The Mets should put their focus on players such as Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui, Mike Cameron, Andruw Jones or even Bobby Abreu. The Mets should sign one of the four of those. For the outfield position left open, the Mets should go after a less lucrative but still useful player, such as Rocco Baldelli, Marlon Byrd, Randy Winn, Frank Catalanotto or Xavier Nady. I'd say that'd add about $8 million to the budget
Starting Pitcher: The Mets have already acquired some bats in this hypothetical off-season, now time to stock up the rotation. Best case scenario, the Mets sign John Lackey. I wouldn't give Lackey over 5 years, and it would be just about impossible to sign him for less with the Angels ready to give him a 5-year, $80 million deal. So the Mets should definitely be thinking 5 years for $90 million. If Lackey doesn't bite or holds out for more offers, I wouldn't panic at all. I'd send some scouts to look at Brad Penny, Erik Bedard, Randy Johnson and/or John Smoltz. At this point the Mets will still have a top prospect in either Holt or Mejia to fill in, and maybe they could sign TWO of these pitchers like the Sox did.
Relief Pitcher: If the Mets go for Lackey there won't be much budget tolerance for any high-class relievers. I'd probably head after Chad Bradford or someone of that type to fill the last spot, or I'd either go Rule V for an arm or even promote Jake Ruckle. If the Mets go for one or two vets I'd like to see them head after Brett Myers for a 1 or 2 year deal worth about $3 or 4 million on a year, or better yet: See if Smoltz would take a setup job.
If the Mets go for Lackey, they will see their budget stay about the same, maybe a little bit less. If they play more conservative, they lose a bit of the payroll.
Here's the hypothetical roster:
SS Jose Reyes
2B Luis Castillo
3B David Wright
CF Carlos Beltran
C Victor Martinez
1B Daniel Murphy
Bench: 1B/OF Nick Evans, MI Angel Berroa, MI Carroll/Infante/McDonald/Lopez, OF Jeremy Reed, OF Angel Pagan
LHP Johan Santana
RHP/LHP John Lackey/Brad Penny/Erik Bedard/John Smoltz/Randy Johnson
RHP Mike Pelfrey
LHP Jon Niese
LHP Oliver Perez
Bullpen: Francisco Rodriguez, Sean Green, Fernando Nieve, Pedro Feliciano, Pat Misch, Brian Stokes. Myers/Smoltz/Bradford/Ruckle/Whoever