The objective of this plan is to re-shape the roster and in doing so get younger, more athletic, shed payroll, and be positioned to have market flexibility in the future while also punching up the roster for 2011 with speed, defense and pitching. I accomplish this with 3 trades, some modest FA acquisitions and non-tender and MILB FA lists. The down and dirty:
1) Sean Ratliff, Jordany Valdespin & Kyle Allen - for Joel Hanrahan(29) & Tony Watson (26)(milb LHRP): the Bucs are still a few years in the making and they could jump at getting 3 players who'd actually have a good shot at helping them a year or 2 from now. Hanrahan gives the Mets some legit 8th inning heat or I'd even toy with the idea of stretching him out. I think there's a least a good chance that Hanrahan could succeed as a starter a la CJ Wilson. The Met rotation is missing a hard pounding RHer.
2) Jose Reyes & Tobi Stoner - for JJ Hardy(28), Kevin Slowey(26) & Billy Bullock(23) (milb RP): this is the one that's going to sting most people but I have no illusions that this FO is going to go out on a limb to sign Reyes to a 7 yr deal at $16M per so they may as well get what they can now... I don't know if Reyes fits into the Twins scheme and I think he's likely to test the market in a year but they're in a better position to win in 2011 than almost anybody and the only player of the 3 that they'll really hurt losing is probably Bullock who has closer potential. Hardy is not the player that Reyes is but he has a great glove and great range and some pop in his bat and could probably hit 2nd behind Pagan. The Mets could extend him if it goes well or let him walk and collect a pick(s). Slowey is your basic #4 SP but throws strikes and is just entering his 3 arb years.
3) Zach Lutz - for Josh Donaldson(25): his path is blocked in Oakland and he may not be more than a career backup but he's just 25 and has good on base skills and I think had a 40% CS rate this past year in AAA. Lutz simply has nowhere to go here and we may as well parlay the good year he just had into something.
1) Chris Capuano (32) - 1 year $3.5MM + incentives for IP + option for 2012 at $5MM. I won't take credit for this as I lifted it from another plan cause CCap was totally off my mind but I think he's just the sort of dude they'll be looking at: somewhat under the radar but solid if unspectacular upside. He actually pitched remarkably well after returning to the mound in the 2nd half with periphs that had more than a passing resemblance to his best numbers of 07. Sign me up.
2) Scott Downs (35) - 2 yrs, $7MM. I know some will kill me b/c of the compensation, but Downs is the only LHRP who is actually more than a situational guy. He actually gets RHed hitters out nearly as efficiently as lefties. This is important because he could and should be used late in games where matchups don't favor KRod and will ultimately prevent KR from finishing 55 games and spare the Mets from the dreaded 2012 option year. He may ultimately go for a higher number to a team like the Bankees or another team who signed a higher rated FA and who also won't have to give up a 1st round pick like the Mets, whose pick is protected.
3) Todd Coffey (30) - 1 yr, $2M. Another power arm for the pen, 7th/8th inning type. Brewers apparently didn't want to get into the $3M range since he was last arb year. Not sure how hotly he'll be pursued. May take another 500K...
4) Eugenio Velez (29) - 1 yr, $900K. A possibly interesting UT player. Very fast, has hit in the minors and still looking for a solid ML opportunity. Has played 2B and also in the OF.
5) Trent Oeltjen (28) - 1yr, $500K. LHed hitting OFer with pop. Worth giving a shot to but will be behind Duda, Evans. Strictly for depth purposes.
I'd bring in the following on minor league deals: Cole Armstrong (27) LHed hitting C from WS org., Drew Macias (27) LHed hitting OF from Pads org., and the following LHed RPs: Chuck James (29), Ryan Edell (27) & Chuck Lofgren (25).
Slappy, Ollie, Acosta
I think from 35 on the 40, there were 4 traded (Reyes, Lutz, Valdespin, & Stoner), and the 3 releases makes 28, then 12 were added: Hanrahan, Capuano, Watson, Donaldson, Downs, Coffey, Slowey, Hardy, Bullock, Velez, Oeltjen, Fields. By my math this comes in at less than $140M. This is not a championship roster unless the big 4 of Wright, Beltran, Bay and Ike all have huge years... what this team can potentially be is solid defensively, have a SP keep the team in the game every night and have a potentially deep and talented pen... that's where there could be a competitive advantage... it's a team that could prosper on timely hitting, defense, and pitching. It also adds several players who have years of control: Hanrahan, Slowey, Donaldson, Bullock, Watson... while also possibly providing a scenario where the Mets would add several draft picks a year down the road from Hardy and KRod and possibly even Coffey.
My resulting roster would be the folllowing:
Pelfrey RH SP
RAD RH SP
Niese LH SP
Slowey RH SP
Capuano LH SP
KRod RH CL
Hanrahan RH RP/SP
Coffey RH RP
Parnell RH RP
Downs LH RP
Gee RH swingman
final pen spot: Misch/Bullock/Iggy/Watson/James/Edell/Lofgren competition
Competing for bench:
Duda R/L OF
Oeltjen L/L OF
Evans R/R CI/OF
Fields R/R CI/OF
Satin R/R IF
Tejada R/R IF
Velez R/B IF/OF
Murphy R/L IF
Donaldson R/R C