I can't think of a witty introduction to my AAOP. Sorry.
The Current Situation
If the season were to begin today, this is probably what the Mets team would look like.
The Good Things
- The starting rotation has pretty good upside except for the fifth starter.
- Francisco Rodriguez, despite his horrible contract, is actually a good closer.
- When healthy, the lineup is balanced with a nice mix of power, contact hitting, speed and upside.
The Bad Things
- The rotation is missing a quality fifth starter and relies too much upon the success of young pitchers who will compete for the spot in spring training, such as Dillon Gee and Jenrry Mejia.
- After Francisco Rodriguez, the bullpen is a complete mess.
- The lineup is full of injury risks like Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Luis Castillo.
Analyzing What We Have
- Santana is an injury risk. We are banking on Dickey to repeat his success from last year. Pelfrey and Niese are both still young and they need to establish consistency. They both have good upside but are by no means a sure thing. Our rotation can definitely be a solid unit, but it would be taking a gigantic risk to assume that it will perform well in 2011.
- As much as people don't like Francisco Rodriguez for beating his girlfriend's father , and as much as people want his $17.5 million option to vest, he only needs 56 games finished which is not that much. He is clearly our best reliever and unless he gets hurt his option is going to vest, like it or not. That being said, I think we can be confident that he will get the job done in the 9th inning, despite giving us a heart attack often enough for us to remember to eat our Cheerios in the morning.
- After Rodriguez, the bullpen is a mess. We have lost Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi and now our only left handed relievers are Pat Misch and Michael O'Connor.
- I think our lineup may actually be our strongest asset. Thole and Davis are both young and talented and even if they produce at levels similar to last year, that should be pretty good. Bay and Beltran will surely improve upon last year and Reyes and Wright will give the lineup energy and backbone.
- Fernando Martinez is not ready to play Major League Baseball.
1. Acquire a durable starting pitcher who can eat up innings and will provide consistency in a rotation that is not very deep.
2. Acquire some cheap pitchers that can provide consistency to the bullpen and can also make a spot start once in a while.
3. Acquire an outfielder who can play everyday if necessary to provide depth for the Mets in case an injury were to go down.
4. Acquire a backup catcher who can handle a young pitching staff well and act as a mentor to Josh Thole.
The Inside the Organization Moves
- Move Jenrry Mejia to the rotation. If he doesn't make the big league rotation, send him to the minors. I want Jenrry the Reliever to die.
- Make Bobby Parnell the 8th inning guy. He is young. He is good. Prove to him that you have confidence in him. If you don't really have confidence in him at least make it seem like that to boost his trade value.
- Do not release Luis Castillo. We have to pay him regardless and he is actually not bad at baseball. Over the last 3 season he has averaged a WAR of .9. Definitely not worth $6 million bucks, for hey, for $6 million bucks I would rather have an extra win than not having an extra win.
- Make Ruben Tejada the every day second baseman. He may not be a great hitter, but he a great fielder. Much better than Luis Castillo. Besides, Castillo can't play every day anyway. He just isn't healthy enough.
- Move Pagan to center field and Beltran to right.
- Make Daniel Murphy is super utility player of sorts. It would be nice if he learned to play second base, but lets admit, he did look nice at first, and we do need someone to play third base every now and then to give David Wright a break.
- Do not release Oliver Perez. Yet. He is pitching decently in the Mexican leagues as of late and we are paying him $12 million regardless. At this point any value squeezed out of him is a bonus. Try him as a lefty reliever. See if the new management can get him to accept an assignment to the minors. Something. Anything. If he continues to suck no reason we can't release him later.
According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Mets payroll for 2011 is currently about about $120 million. However, that does not take into account the new front office trio of Alderson, Depodesta and Ricciardi. It also does not take into account managers coaches, and arbitration raises. And don't forget Bobby Bonilla being put back onto the payroll. So I figure make that $135 million. The AAOP rules say I get $150 million to work with so I can add $15 million or so. Let's do this.
Need 1: Starting Pitcher
Sign: Jeremy Bonderman
Contract: 1 year, $7 million
Why: He is coming off of a 4 year, $38 million deal that paid him $12.5 million last year. From 2003-2007, he was always consistent, putting up at least 162 IP each year. Then he got hurt and only pitched 81.2 innings from 2008-2009. He bounced back in 2010, pitching 171 innings, but he also posted a 5.53 ERA, and a 1.44 WHIP. He is definitely a fly ball pitcher, posting a HR/9 of 1.32. Bonderman can't expect to make as much this year as he did last year, but he is 28, and it would be it would make a lot of sense for him to come to the spacious Citi Field where he won't give up as many home runs. This will be good for the Mets as they get a good solid pitcher who can pretty much guarantee 175 innings, and it will be good for Bonderman as it gives him an opportunity to get his career back on track.
NOTE: The obvious choice is Carl Pavano. But he is older, he is a Type A, and he would probably cost around $12 million per season. I think you should only sign Type As when they are a star i.e. Matt Holiday, Mark Teixiera, Cliff Lee. Except we don't have the money for Cliff Lee.
Need 2: Reliever/Spot Starter
Sign: Pedro Feliciano
Contract: 2 years, $8 million, club option for $3.5 million
Why: We need a lefty specialist. Feliciano is arguably the best lefty specialist in baseball. He is easily the best lefty specialist on the market. Having a manager not named Jerry Manuel should be able to manage Feliciano's innings and only use him against lefties, this way Feliciano stays efficient and healthy.
Also sign: Miguel Batista
Contract: 1 year, $1.5 million
Why: Batista fits the mold of what I want perfectly. He can start or he can pitch in the bullpen. He is a great swingman. In his career he has pitched 588 games; he has started 238 of those. He can easily pitch in the bullpen or the rotation and switch with no problems. In 2009 he posted a 4.04 ERA and in 2010 he posted a 3.70 ERA. Some years he has a high BABIP and some years he has a low BABIP; however he has always been consistent so I don't look into his BABIP much.
Also sign: Mark Hendrickson
Contract: 1 year, $1 million
Why: Hendrickson has always been consistent and healthy and he has always been as close to a sure thing as you can get. He can start or relieve and he should come cheap.
Need 3: Utility Outfielder
Sign: Reed Johnson
Contract: 1 year, $1.5 million
Why: Citi Field is big. We need outfielders who are good fielders. And frankly, I don't know if Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran can be good fielders. Reed Johnson has always been a good fielder. In left field this year, he posted a UZR of 45.2. Every year of his career, excluding 2009, he has played at least 100 games. Reed Johnson is consistent.
Need 4: Backup Catcher
Resign: Henry Blanco
Contract: 1 year, $1 million
Why: He did a great job in 2010. He is exactly what we need. Blanco does a great job calling games and he can teach Thole how to call games. Blanco also is a terrific defensive catcher so he should be able to block any wild pitches.
I don't want to make any trades. If the Mets were to make the signings that I have laid out, I do not feel it is necessary to make any trades. I am not trading just for the sake of trading. Maybe should trade Carlos Beltran during the season, around the trading deadline, but currently his value is too low. I also am in favor of keeping Jose Reyes and signing him to an extension, but I want to do that during the season so we can get a better idea of his value.
According to this plan, the Mets tack on $17 million. The 2011 Mets payroll will be about $152 million. Here is what the projected 2011 roster would look like.
If the Mets do all of these things they will be good. I promise. And sometimes a promise is good enough.