The Wilpon's are "victims" of tough economic times and of the Bernie Madoff scandal. They are "strapped for cash" in the sense that they may need to actually CONSIDER stepping down from being MEGA RICH to only SUPER RICH. So, from the generosity of my heart, I am here to offer some suggestions to the Wilpon's of how to get the most value out of their junk. Sound familiar? This is just Cash for Clunkers, but with a Metsy twist! Keeping in tradition of catching propaganda-friendly names, I'm calling it Cuts & Keepers. It's just as obvious as it sounds, folks! I first suggest players that the Mets should cut, with reasons next to their names, and I then suggest some keepers! Yay!
(also, to qualify for this bargain, you have to be a Met by the end of September 2009, and your salary has to be under $5 million a year!)
Jeff Francoeur - I really dislike Francoeur. Francoeur represents everything baseball shouldn't be (or, what the teams the Mets play SHOULD be)/ He swings at everything, his OBP is worse than Luis Castillo's batting average, and home runs to him are simply "rally-killers." Despite his suprising turn for the better after coming to the Mets, it seems Jeff Francoeur is as valuable to the Mets as Bear Stearns' portfolio. But the biggest part about Francoeur I hate is his big, ugly pricetag. This year, he's earning $3.375 million, which is a little over $6 million too much according to fangraphs. The Mets/Braves should be CHARGING HIM FOR PLAYING TIME! Let's non-tender and/of trade this guy and be done with him.
John Maine - Although I like him as a person and as a fun pitcher to watch, John Maine has no place in the Freddie Coupon's universe, and really in mine. Maine ends up taking a rotation spot and is guaranteed to get hurt somewhere down the line. And frankly, Maine is a middle of the rotation pitcher at best, and he dreams to be as good as Mike Pelfrey in FIP. Now in a normal situation, I would probably try him out in a setup role to bolster the bullpen, but frankly in this Wilpon Economic Time his $2.6 million for 2009, and the possbility (probability) of more is too much.
Brian Schneider - Schneider combines an injury risk and lack of performance to make the perfect cocktail of "No Thank You." His ludicrous $4.9 million price tag for 2009 is already a tax on the budget, but also his negative $300,000 value for this year is rather alarming. Whether he settles for less or not (he will), I think a new face in New York and new scenery for Schneidly is good for both sides. Schneider was actually a solid acquisition from the brass, especially when paired with Ryan Church in exchange for Blastings, but now his time has come, and I'm ready to chant "Tholeeee, TholeTholeTholeeeeee, Tholeeeee, Tholeeeee."
Tim Redding - If I wanted ipecac, I'd get it at the pharmacy for $15. I wouldn't spend $2.25 million for a year's supply!
Alex Cora - I don't know why we signed him for $2 million this year, but I sure as hell want him outta here ASAP.
Jeremy Reed - We already have too much outfield depth to deal with another near-million dollar salary. Reed was costing us $925,000 in 2009, and will cost nothing to the Mets in 2010 when he's on another team.
Ramon Martinez: $750,000 in 2009
Elmer Dessens: $600,000 in 2009
Brandon Knight: $404,000 in 2009
Lance Broadway: $403,000 in 2009
Overall cost of Cuts in 2009: approximately $18.3 million
Overall value: $-5.6 million (yes, NEGATIVE $5.6 million)
Angel Pagan - Besides Biggie Smalls, Angel Pagan is just about my favorite oxymoron on the planet, and with good reason. Pagan is a blessing at the plate (wOBA of .330 in 2008, .357 in 2009) and in the field (in 278 career innings in right, his UZR is 4.5!!! THATS 18.7 UZR/150!!!). Plus, Pagan should be kept at a contract under $1 million in 2010, considering he made about $570,000 in 2009. I want Pagan as my starting right fielder, I don't know about you guys!
Cory Sullivan - Sully is a valuable pinch hitter and good defender. He made $600,000 in 2009, and I can't imagine he'd ask for much more, especially if he's offered a spot on the MLB roster. Sully's already proved that he's worth double that! Sullivan is pretty much the quintessential fourth outfielder, and considering our messy situation in right (we have candidates extending across the board from Pagan to Evans to Martinez to Murphy), Sully will at the very least serve to be an effective stopgap.
Anderson Hernandez - Although in his first time around with the Mets A-Hern was rather barf-worthy, he has proven that he can hit over .150 over the past 2 years. He still really isn't much of a hitter -- he has no pop and doesn't walk much -- but he can hit enough to justify having as a defensive MI backup, and when he begins making good contact, he can actually inflate his OBP quite a bit. Considering we're cutting budget, it's nice to know there's a good defender on the team for as low a price as he comes. Especially when he only earned $400,000 in 2009.
Daniel Murphy - I know his 97 OPS+ is not exactly worthy of a Silver Slugger award, but Murphy is still a young'n and should be given the opportunity to rebound next year at first base. If the Mets want to make big upgrades (Matt Holliday....) they can't continuously sign $2-5 million players like they did last year, and we can survive with Murphy hitting eighth in the lineup. After making $401,000 in 2009, he's the most affordable option we have and we can't really do much else. Also, considering this is just his first full season, there is always the possibility that he will do better next year.
Fernando Tatis - He's the most expensive player on this keepers list, but he's probably the mos valuable as well. Tatis still has a great bat and over the past 2 years has shown that in his 630 PAs, he's been worth $10.2 million. Tatis has very good defense at first base, second base and in the corner outfield positions, and with his bat he's way too valuable to lose. He signed for $1.7 million last year, and I'm willing to be he's ready to sign the same contract again. He should be getting more at-bats this year, posssibly as a platoon man for Daniel Murphy, fill in for Luis Castillo or replacement for an ineffective Angel Pagan. Tatis is too good not to keep.
Fernando Nieve - He was never exactly an overproducer in his limited time in the bigs but Nieve and his mid-90s fastball could find some use in the Mets' bullpen. Fernando may not be striking out as many as he usually does but is taking advantage of Citifield's wide dimensions as his homer rate is drastically lowered. He shouldn't earn much more than the $414,000 he signed for in 2009, and could be a huge bullpen sleeper.
Pat Misch - Misch makes both a good LOOGY and spot starter, and with the questionable rotation the Mets have going into next year he could prove his worth exponentially. He's never really been given much of a shot but could be a great player for the Mets to have on the roster come Opening Day. He earned $401,250 this year and should be available at the same price.
Omir Santos - He's no Ramon Castro, but at the very least Omir makes a good case as a catcher. His .298 wOBA isn't attractive compared to the other hitters out there, but compare him to other CATCHERS and all of the sudden he's golden. Santos has proven in his time that he's been worth $4 million to the Mets this year, showing that at the pennies he's costing the team (he's earning at the most $390,000 this year) Santos is more than just a AAAA player, but a viable MLB catcher who should be part of a Mets platoon catcher system in 2010.
Overall cost of Keeprs in 2009: $4.5 million
Overall value of Keepers in 2009: $17.7 million