Step One: Dump the bad salaries. Eat them if you have to (Ollie and Luis of course). But I think we might include some of them in the two major trades I would make.
Step Two: Bay for Zito. If the Giants won't take Castillo or Perez back as well, and I think they will, they would have to agree to pay for Zito's option year if he earns it. For the Giants, they replace a guy who was left off their playoff roster with a guy who has been a consistant run producer in his career at equal money. For the Mets, they replace a guy who produced a 1.4 WAR in 2010 in LF with a 200-inning pitcher. Granted, he is a long way from winning a Cy Young or even making an all-star team. But the Mets need an innings-eater and the net cost is $0.
Further, replacing Bay's production in LF should be relatively easy for the Mets as he was a 1.4 WAR last year. I'd pencil in a platoon of Duda and Evans and sign a couple of veterans to be back-ups and fail-safes. I have Jim Edmonds and Eric Hinske down but others could do as well. Duda hit .348/.421/.663 vs righties last year in the minors while Evans has a career .322/.379/.512 vs lefties in the majors. Of course the sample size is small, thus the need for Edmonds and Hinske. Last year, the four combined for 3.6 WAR. I've got them at 2.5 combined for 2011. Hopefully we can find out if one of the kids can play every day. If not Evans or Duda, Captain Kirk may earn a shot as well.
Step Three: Empty the farm system for Hanley Ramirez and move him to 2B. I'm talking Flores, Mejia, Martinez and Urbina going back. Ramirez will be 27 later this month and is off his worst year since his rookie campaign. He still has four years and $57.5mil left on his contract so the Fish would be in no hurry to trade him, thus the Godfather Offer (one they can't refuse).
Step Four: Offer Webb a two-year incentive-laden contract with a base of $10mil per year - if he throws well and passes his physical. I also like the John Lackey Club Option - if he misses time due to a recurrence of a previous injury the Mets get a club option year at league minimum. If not Webb, go to option B - Erik Bedard, similar deal but scaled back to 1 year and $5mil with the same club option.
Step Five: Fill out the bullpen. Uehara seems a popular option, though there are several similar to him that would do just as well I think. Wood, Saito and Fuentes are all viable options. Farnsworth has a bad name in New York, but I think his fly ball tendencies would play much better in Citi than across town. Again, there are several other options to him: Dotel, Wheeler or Balfour would be fine also. We'd need two lefties assuming Feliciano isn't back (and Fuentes isn't signed). Ohman is a good short man who has decent success against righties too. And Hendrickson has the ability to spot-start if needed.
Step Six - passive step - we keep Beltran to play out his contract and move him to RF. If he stinks, or gets hurt again, we have Hinske, Edmonds, or one of the other kids to fill in. If he is playing well, we can decide whether to trade him mid-season. My hope would be he and the Mets are both looking good and he plays out his contract. We'd then have close to $30mil of payroll coming off after 2011 to fill in Right Field if no internal option presents itself.
|Player||2010 WAR||2010 PA||2011 est WAR||2011 est PA||2011 Salary|
|2nd Base||Ramirez H||4.4||619||4.5||700||11,000,000|
|Player||2010 WAR||2010 IP||2011 est WAR||2011 IP||2011 Salary|
In 2010, these players produced a WAR of 45.5, including 14.4 from guys that weren't here last year. I estimate here they can get 43 WAR which I think is very conservative. Of the returning guys, I have them for a total of 0.1 WAR more than they produced last year. A more reasonable estimate might be closer to 50. Yes, that's 98 wins. In 2011. It also features a team with 6 every day home-grown Mets (counting Pagan, and counting Evans/Duda as one). OK, slight mis-calculation as I had Wright down at league minimum instead of $14mil! Now we need the Giants to take Castillo and Perez back. May need to offer a b-level prospect to entice them. Dillon Gee perhaps? Are we giving up a lot in the Ramirez trade? You bet. But we're getting a 27-year old stud back. And if Santana and Webb are healthy, this is a 95+ win team.