My 2012 Mets could look like this but depends on 3 major keys,resigning Jose Reyes, making trades with the Tampa Rays & Seattle Mariners. I will go through 5 catagories - infielders, catchers, outfielders, starting pitchers, releif pitchers.
Catchers - Jose Thole .4 mil, Mike Nickeas .4 mi.
Catcher is the position that takes the hit salary wise. I feel that Thole will be a better hitter then he showed this season and he will improve defensively. Every year prior to 2011 his defensive game improved so I am hoping this past season was just a blip on his career path. Nickeas is very solid defensively which should be the priority in your back up catcher. He calls a great came, the pitchers love throwing to him and as long as he can keep his avg in the .220-.230 range he will suffice.
The big question is signing Reyes. My offer to him would be 5 years plus an option and would break down as follows: 2012 19 mil, 2013 19.5 mil, 2014 19.5 mil, 2015 18 mil, 2016 18 mil, 2017 18 mil option based on 140 games with 675 pa in 2016 or a combined 300 games with 1400 pa in 2015 & 16. If the option is not met there is a 6 million buyout. This gives Reyes a guaranteed 100 million 5 year deal with a possible 6 year 112 million. Wright stats at 3rd base and hopefully comes closer to his career avgerages say .290, 25 hr, 110 rbi, 105 rs, .385 oba, 500 slg. Davis is at 1b and continues to develop to a hopeful .280, 25, 100 line. Tejada plays 2b and can be spelled by Turner so he does not wear down. If Rubean can show as much improvement next season as this season, he will be fine. Turner backs up ss & 2b though Tejeada would slide to short if it is a long term need. Evans backs up 3rd & 1b and both provide rh hitting of the bench - Turner contact and Evans more pop.
The big question here is Lagares, is he ready, can he play CF? Tracking him the past couple of seasons and seeing what he did this year in AA & AAA and how he is handling the AFL, I think he could make the jump. He could be a nice rh bat and play a steady cf. You can also use Ankiel as a semi platoon against the toughest rh pitchers. Ankiel would be your 4th+ outfielder with Baxter being you 5th outfielder and a left handed bat of the bench.In this lineup I would flip Duda to left and Bay to right.
This is where it gets trickey. Tampa is loaded with starting pitching, 8-9 deep. They have talked about moving Shields before, as recently as the past trading deadline in July. I would offer them Angel Pagan, Daniel Murphy & Jordanny Valdespin. They are not resigning Kotchman so they need a left handed hitting 1st and Murphy would fill that spot plus be a low salary at .4mil wich is lower then the paid Kotchman. Sam Fuld is not the answer for Tampa in left so Pagan can take over in left field if Jennings is not ready, play center if they move Upton which is a real possibility, or be the 4th outfielder backing up all 3 positions. Even with a sligh raise in arbitration, he will be less expensive then Upton and is better then any other potential 4th outfielder they have. Tampa's 1 weakness is they do not have anyone close to being ready to play ss in the majors. Valdespin gives them a young player with tons of potential that could be ready to play in the big leagues by mid to late summer at SS or at 2nd if they decide to slide Sean Rodriquez over. I think this would be a benifical trade for both teams but if Tampa is hesitent to pull the trigger I would up the offer with either Parnell or F-Mart. A rotation of Santana, Shields, Dickey, Niese and Gee would be fine. I would also resign Chris Young and Miguel Batista to minor league contracts so we could have some veteran insurance in AAA
Seattle has Aardsma and Brandon League under contract. They can't both close and I do not see them keeping Aardsma at that cost in a setup role, especially coming off an injury. They need starting pitching so offer Mike Pelfry, Mark Cahoon and either Parnell or F-Mart, whichever one is not used in the Tampa trade. Maybe the Mets have to send 2-3 million with Pelfry to make it work but it is well worth the cost. Either Aardsma or Capps can close with the other being the primary rh setup man. Sherrill could be the lh set up man with Byrdak the leftie specialist. Accosta is middle relief and Herrera is long relief. You can also use Batista in long releif instead of Herrera and if you can't get Aardsma from Seattle, you can make a 2.5 1 year offer to either Broxton or Lidge and they can team with Capps. If Bucholz is able to pitch you could also sign him for probably half of what you use for Capps or Francisco.
With these moves being made, the 2012 New York Mets would have a payroll of 108.7 Million + another 1.2 million for Carrasco contract in AAA which makes 109.9 million. These numbers would change slightly depending on which options are selected for the bullpen and who is signed to minor league deals for depth. Even with that, this could be a very doable and productive team in the 105 million to 115 millon range.