Start with $81.4 million as noted in AA post. That includes $4.7 million for Pagan, $5.9 million for Pelfrey. Non-tender both. Pagan's defense is suspect and Pelfry is too expensive as a back-of-the-rotation option.
That's $70.8 million.
Trade Jason Bay for John Lackey. This is very speculative, but there are good reasons to suspect Boston would make this deal, given Lackey's issues there. The overall money is higher for the Mets here but the per year number lower. Lackey gets $3 million less a year from Bay. I'd ask the Sox to kick in another $3 million each year to be rid of a clubhouse cancer and bring back a guy they loved in the club house. If you can pull this off you save $6 million and have a new back of the rotation option - Lackey should go from horrendous to tolerable moving from AL East and Fenway to the caverns of Citi Field.
That's $64.8 million.
Next, re-sign Jose Reyes. Maybe it ends up blowing up in your face, but it is good for the business. We'll give him $18.2 million a year. If it requires more than this to sign him, we backlog some of the contract to bring it to this level. I'd go as high as 6 years $120 million.
That's $83 million.
To fill out the outfield, I'd sign Cody Ross (2 years, $10 million) and David Dejesus (1 year, $4 million). Now you have good defense at 2/3 of the outfield and tolerable hitting. You can use Nick Evans against lefties and possibly bring up Kirk Nieuwhenuis to take over a spot.
That's $92 million.
Next, I'd use Dan Murphy as trade bait to try to get another starter. I'd try the Angels to make a switch with Ervin Santana (owed $7 million) or possibly Wandy Rodriguez if the Astros eat enough of the contract to get $7 million. Let's say we get Ervin.
That's $99 million.
That's $110 million
And your lineup:
1) Reyes SS
2) Dejesus CF
3) Davis 1B
4) Wright 3B
5) Duda LF
6) Ross RF
7) Thole C
8) Tejada 2B
You hope like hell that Reese Havens or Kirk Niuwhenhuis rakes in the minors and comes and gives you a midseason infusion of offense.
If these guys falter, Dillon Gee steps in. If the team is playing well mid-season, you look to see if you can acquire a true ace or you see if Harvey, Mejia, or Familia is at all ready.
Here also Harvey, Mejia, or Familia could make a mid-year impact.
Conclusion: It's not a pretty team, but with some lucky breaks and a few possible, but unlikely breaks (David Wright reverts to 2008 form, Duda becomes a .900 OPS hitter, Santana reverts to 2010 form, some minor league guys break out) the team could become a contender. If that happens, a key trade could put them over the top. This team can at least put some butts in the seats and most of these guys are one-year signings. If the team breaks down, possible mid-year trade guys are: Wright, Francisco, Lidge, Gonzalez, Ervin Santana.