My offseason plan had several key points:
- I wanted to make my plan look as realistic as possible while maintaining some semblance of competitiveness.
- There would be no TRAIDs in which the Mets go after a player by trading prospects. Any TRAID must involve another team's prospects. I didn't plan on making any TRAIDs because I don't see anyone I really wanted to part with (and could reasonably part with).
- This offseason and next season is about continuing to clean up Omar's mess by offering short contracts to all free agents signed in this period. We need stopgaps at this point as there is no free agent who is in the price range worth signing.
- Flexibility must be maintained for next offseason when the free agent haul looks to be a lot better. Spending for the sake of spending is not a good thing.
- The goal this offseason should be to be set things in motion to finish at least .500 in 2012, and groom the organization to become a legitimate contender in 2013 and thereafter
The transactions begin after the jump.
Smell Ya Later:
- Willie Harris- Decent enough guy, but Terry seems to like him far too much for my taste, and he's not very good.
- Ronnie Paulino- For a guy who was supposed to hit lefties hard, there wasn't enough of the lefty-hitting going on.
- Ryota Igarashi- Good riddance.
- Jason Isringhausen- It was nice to have you back this season Izzy, but seeing you blow a game in person after the Mets waged a heroic comeback against K-Rod sealed the deal for me.
- Chris Young- A pitcher who is a virtual guarantee to throw fewer than 100 innings isn't worth it.
- Mike Pelfrey- If I want a thoroughly average innings eater, I'll find someone else.
- Miguel Batista- Meh
- Manny Acosta- It's a bit of a gamble, but high leverage relievers don't grow on trees and the Acostalypse was probably the best reliever on the team after the K-Rod trade. Using Darren O'Day's contract after his first season of arbitration (he got $1.2 million) I'm going to say that the Acostalypse signs for an even one million.
- Angel Pagan- I think that this season was a bit of an aberration and I still don't fully trust fielding metrics. Despite how "terrible" he was this season, he was still worth $3.9 million according to Fangraphs. Chalk him up for $5 million and pencil him in as the starting center fielder for the 2012 New York Mets.
- Taylor Buchholz- When he pitched, he was probably the best reliever that The Mets had this season other than K-Rod. Of all Mets Pitchers this season, none had a better K/BB rate than Buchholz. Given his issues this season, he'll probably get around $1 million, and that could represent a tremendous value if he has his issues sorted out.
- Scott Hairston- Despite his putrid start, Scott Hairston was looking like a very shrewd signing on the part of Lord Sandy until he was injured. Last season's contract was for $1.1 MM with $400K in incentives. that sounds about right, and maybe even less given the injury this season and the fact that he's not getting any younger.
- Chris Capuano- Give the xFIP king a two year contract worth $11 million and a $7 million team option for 2014 that becomes a player option if he reaches 200 innings in 2013 along with a $500k buyout. That could be a risk given the assumption of smaller dimensions of the stadium, and Capuano's fly ball tendency/injury history but it could be a bargain as well, especially if he gives a lot of innings, keeps striking people out like he did at the end of the year in 2011 and can cut down on the home runs. Plus, the option for him is very easily manageable.
- Jose Reyes- Obviously this is the most important issue to be resolved and I'm not even sure that it should happen from a strictly financial standpoint, but I'd be willing to offer him a 5 yr/$88 million contract and a $22 million team option for 2017 that becomes a player option if he averages 650 PAs in the 2016 and 2017 seasons plus a $4 million buyout. In total, the contract is worth $92 million at a minimum and $110 million at the maximum.
Jose Reyes contract structure:
Year 1: $14,500,000
Year 2: $15,500,000
Year 3: $17,000,000
Year 4: $20,000,000
Year 5: $21,000,000
Year 6: $22,000,000* (Mutual option, $4 million buyout)
If he rejects that contract, let him walk.
- Livan Hernandez- I know, been there done that with El Duque's younger, fatter brother, but he's an innings eater and far less frustrating than Mike Pelfrey. Not to mention the fact that he'll be had for a 1 yr/$1.5 million contract. Way better scenario than Pelf for someone who is more than likely going to be better than Pelf. The Cuban Jamie Moyer has had a FIP of under four in the past two seasons and has been worth more than $20 million since the beginning of the 2010 season.
- Brad Lidge- He's coming off injury, and his standing with the Phillies brass isn't anywhere near where it was a couple years ago. He was decent this season when he played, and he has Closer Mentality™. Give him 1 year/$4 million with a $5 million option for 2013 that vests with 50 games finished in 2012 and a $500k buyout.
- Kerry Wood- Wood is just injury prone enough that he may be had for a relative bargain. Wood still has something left and had a good season this season. A 1 yr/$2 million contract for Wood would go a long way toward having an extremely strong back end of the bullpen.
- Darren Oliver- He's old, but I'm feeling nostalgic, and who the hell does't want a lefty reliever who has been completely lights out over the last five years, has virtually no platoon splits, walks almost no one and gives up home runs at a miniscule rate despite playing in a bandbox? 1 year/$3.25 Million.
- Endy Chavez- Endy likely won't replicate his offensive production from this season in an extreme hitter friendly park, but he's a good enough defender to make that work and he's also a pretty good base stealer. He was playing on a minor league contract this year and probably could be had for a 1 year/$1 million deal. Given the fact that he was a 1.5 fWAR player in 274 PA this season, that could be a bargain if Endy were to get some time spelling the players in the three outfield positions (Jason Bay).
- Ramon Castro- Okay, I'm feeling very nostalgic, but he's coming off injury and he wouldn't be needed to catch more than once or twice a week. Trading him away was one of the most deceptively terrible moves during the entirety of Omar's tenure. Sign him to a major league contract worth $1 million for a year and let him sit behind Josh Thole just so Mike Nickeas doesn't have to play.
Now for the internal matters:
- Ruben Tejada should be the starter at second base, but that doesn't mean that Daniel Murphy won't get playing time. Ideally Murph will get 40 or 50 starts if healthy, spelling Ike Davis, who will need rest coming off of a season ending injury, David Wright, who would benefit from a little rest, and Ruben Tejada who will invariably have to play some SS on occasion when Jose is taking the day off.
- Ideally, Jose will get at least one regularly off day every few weeks. I would much rather have a healthy Jose for 140 games a season than a hobbled Jose for 120.
- If the Mo's Zone stays, there is no way that Lucas Duda can stay at right field. In an ideal situation, he wouldn't be playing outfield in the first place, but moving him to left field would probably be a better option.
- Mejia and Familia to Buffalo; Harvey, Gorski and Wheeler to Binghamton.
- Valdespin stays at Buffalo, Havens promoted to Buffalo. Havens and Nieuwenhuis are the first two options if there are any injuries to position players. Valdespin ideally stays in Buffalo all season unless he starts walking a whole bunch.
- If Jason Bay isn't ripping the cover off the ball within his first 100 PAs or so, it's time to assess his value with the organization and look into platooning him. It's worth noting that Bay hit .300/.418/.500 against lefties compared to .228/.297/.332 vs. righties and that's a pretty decent platoon player. He would still have value as a situational starter against lefties, but that doesn't give anyone reason to allow his option to vest.
- DJ Carrasco can start the season in the minors. Until he proves that he doesn't suck. If he continues to suck for another month or so in Buffalo, cut him loose.
- I placed such an emphasis on the bullpen because I didn't know what to expect from Johan. Even if he's healthy, I don't know how realistic it would be to expect 180 innings from him/an average of anything more than six innings per start. If Johan gets hurt, Dillon Gee will always be on reserve at any time in Buffalo
Johan Santana: $24 million
R.A. Dickey: $4.75 million
Jonathon Niese: $0.4 million
Chris Capuano: $5.5 million
Livan Hernandez $1.5 million
Brad Lidge: $4 million
Darren Oliver: $3.25 million
Kerry Wood: $2 million
Manny Acosta: $1 million
Taylor Buchholz: $1 million
Tim Byrdak: $1 million
Bobby Parnell: $0.4 million
(D.J. Carrasco: $1.2 million)
SS Jose Reyes: $14.5 million
CF Angel Pagan: $5 million
1B Ike Davis: $0.4 million
3B David Wright: $15.25 million
LF Lucas Duda: $0.4 million
RF Jason Bay: $18.13 million
2B Ruben Tejada: $0.4 million
C Josh Thole: $0.4 million
C Ramon Castro: $1 million
OF Scott Hairston: $1.1 milion
OF Endy Chavez: $1 million
1B/OF Nick Evans: $0.4 million
IF Daniel Murphy: $0.4 million
With a payroll obligation of around $108 million in 2012, I went below the absolute limit to give some space for in season additions should the team be in contention, but I put together a team that with some luck, has the opportunity to be competitive next year and a possible contender in 2013 and beyond. We just need to count on one of the pitching prospects becoming a star and the others becoming decent or good.
I liked the 2011 Mets, and they were good when healthy, so I wouldn't change a whole lot other than Ray Ramirez.
Now in honor of Carlos Beltran, who I desperately wanted to find room to re-sign, but couldn't, here's El Esta Aqui in his honor.
Let's go Mets, and Cole Hamels drinks wine coolers.