Musing on Payroll

This is my first fanpost here, and, while it may be a bit presumptuous to solicit feedback, I figured I'd throw it out there.

Something I was thinking about today: there are two types of "Conventional wisdom" floating around about the Mets and baseball. There's the one that focuses on grission and heart and being a Phillie, and then there's the other that focuses on things like performance and hitting and defense. The first worldview indicates that the Mets should trade players like Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran b/c they don't have "heart." The second finds it ludicrous that to improve a team, you would suggest trading its best players.

I don't mean to disparage, actually. I want to challenge a bit of the sabermetrics worldview's conventional wisdom.

Here's my thought exercise: pretend you're the GM of the Mets. You're having a meeting with Fred Wilpon and Jeff Wilpon, and they lay out a maximum dollar value that they are willing to spend on player personnel in 2010. The number they give you is ______.

I imagine that the number they give you could fall anywhere between $37 million (Marlins' payroll) and $136 million (Mets' current payroll). I think it is highly unlikely that they would push it as low as $37 million, but we simply do not know how much the Wilpons were hurt by the Madoff scandal (news reports are so scattered), or how much they would want to shave, or if they are interested in making the team more attractive for another buyer.

I think there is a payroll value where the sabermetrics worldview breaks down, and the grission-y worldview is right. Somewhere, there is a payroll cap where the optimal strategy to building a competitive team is to trade Beltran, and Reyes, and maybe Santana, in exchange for lower cost, less-effective players. I don't know where that limit is, but I think it exists.

Two (compound) questions:

1. What's the number where the grission-y worldview is right?

2. Let's assume that the Mets are forced to drive their payroll down to $90 million ($10 million higher than league median payroll). What do you do? Who would you deal? Who would you insist on keeping?

I'm still formulating my own answers, but I figured I'd throw it out there just as a thought exercise. Thanks!

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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