When I read various articles or blogs or listen to sports talk radio one of the things that sticks out to me when it concerns the 2012 New York Mets season is the reasoning for keeping certain players on this team: who is going to show up to the ballpark when there’s no one exciting to watch on this team?
Attendance for the 2011 season was about 2.35 million people, down roughly 8% from last year. There can be many factors at work here, be it the expensive price of going to the ballpark combined with the sluggish economy combined with a sub .500 team. But the point I am trying to make is even with a fairly healthy and competitive team for most of the 2011 season Citi Field was not filled with Mets fans.
They say New York loves a winner but the current Mets roster doesn’t strike me as being one. They say you can not rebuild in New York as you can in other cities around the country, but I say hogwash. There comes a time when you must start over and give everyone a fresh start. I understand that what I am about to propose could be considered both insane and outlandish to the point of being branded a traitor but I assure you I am neither.
For this exercise I am the General Manager of the New York Mets. It is my job to improve this team in the mold of how I see fit for a successful run over the next decade and longer. The objective of the AAOP is to build a competitive team for the 2012 season where the payroll can not exceed $110 million, with that rule carried out for the next few seasons as well. As reference I have used the Cot’s Baseball Contracts (CBC) and MLB Trade Rumors (MLBTR) websites to assist me with players who are or could be available.
Manny Acosta – RP
Taylor Buchholz – RP
Angel Pagan – OF
Ronnie Paulino – C
Mike Pelfrey – SP
As GM I will offer arbitration to Acosta, Pagan and Pelfrey. MLBTR gives raises to the 3 for a total of $11.6 million in salary.
Jose Reyes - SS
Ryota Igarashi - RP
Chris Capuano - SP
Scott Hairston - OF
Chris Young - SP
Willie Harris - IF/OF
Miguel Batista - RP
Jason Isringhausen - RP
Of the 8, Reyes is the only one who projects as a Type A Free Agent. This means that if another team signs him to a contract, the Mets obtain that teams First Round draft pick and a supplemental draft pick (between Rounds 1 and 2) in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft provide he is offered arbitration by the Mets. Since this is the case I will offer arbitration to Reyes only.
I fully expect another team to sign Reyes (my guess? Detroit) and therefore he will not be on the Opening Day roster for the 2012 season. The salary he received on the open market plus the injuries suffered over the past few season makes him unaffordable to the Mets. As GM I wish him the best of luck in his new surroundings and hope he can produce for his new team as he did for ours.
Resign Capuano: 2 yrs/5 million
Resign Harris: 1 yr/1.1 million
Capuano gets a two year deal in the event Johan Santana is not healthy and a possible loss of Pelfrey in the 2013 season, but to begin the 2012 season he will start in the Mets bullpen. The remaining players I will not resign and I wish them the best of luck on the open market.
By adding Wright to the core of Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler, the Rockies now pack an extremely powerful punch in the NL West. Wright’s Coors Field numbers will surely go up in the friendly hitter’s park. Not only that but his salary of $15 million can fit in the Rockies payroll after Aaron Cook, Jose Lopez and Ian Stewart are let go.
For the Mets, Pomeranz gives the Mets another SP (specifically a lefty) to build on their already impressive minor league starters. And within a years time Rosario can provide the Mets something they haven’t had in years: a solid young catcher. The loss of Wright moves Daniel Murphy to 3B to start the year.
The player to be named later comes to the Mets ONLY if Wright does not void the clubs’ 2013 option in is contact, which he can. His contract states that he can void the 2013 option if he is traded during the life of his original 6 year deal. Since I have dealt him, he can stay in Colorado for the 2013 season, or test the free agent market. If he stays, another Rockies player comes our way. I will submit a list of 10 minor league players to the Rockies by the July 31 Trade Deadline, and the Rockies must approve of at least 5. When the season is completed and if Wright decides to stay in Colorado, I have 48 hours to decide on the player I want from the Rockies 5 approved players list. If Wright voids the deal, then Pomeranz and Rosario will be the only players the Mets obtain from the deal.
FACT: The Rays have not started a starting pitcher over the age of 30 in over 750 games.
FACT: James Shields will turn 30 on 12/20/2011
To get talent, talent must be given up. Unless the Rays think Casey Kotchman can have another solid season, then this deal would not be in their favor. But a young 1B who can play solid defense and can swing a mighty bat just might be the left handed compliment to Evan Longoria in the Rays lineup. Familla, a starter the minor leagues, projects as a middle relief pitcher and although he would look good in the Mets pen, the Rays seem to thrive on cheap young players to fill out their bullpen. Allen, who struggled this past season, may need a change of scenery to straighten himself out.
Shields has fairly affordable club options until 2014, which can fit nicely in the Mets price range. He, a healthy Johan Santana and RA Dickey would make a competitive 1-2-3 combination at the top of the Mets rotation. Plus, with the addition of Shields, Dillon Gee will start the season in Buffalo to get some more seasoning and be called upon in case of an emergency. The loss of Davis moves Lucas Duda from RF to 1B to start the year.
Free Agents Signings
Sign David DeJesus: to a 1 yr/$3.5 million
DeJesus becomes the starting RF for the Mets. His speed and defensive prowess will cover the new right field at Citi Field. In a pinch, he can play CF to spell Angel Pagan if need be.
Sign Laynce Nix: 1 yr/$1.1 million
Nix is the left handed bat off the bench that can deliver a pinch hit home run off if need be and we’re looking for him to provide that. He and Harris will be the #4 and #5 outfielders on this team, but will start on occasion.
Sign Gerald Laird: 1 yr/$1.5 million
Laird becomes the right handed complement to Josh Thole, plus is the stop gap when Rosario is ready in 2013.
Sign Ryan Theriot: 2 yrs/6 million
My guess is that Theriot will not be offered arbitration by the Cardinals because he will be too expensive to keep, since the Cards need every dollar to sign Albert Pujols. On the Mets, Theriot will become the starting 2B and at the same time provide veteran leadership for Ruben Tejada taking over Reyes at SS. Theriot can also bridge the gap between himself and Reese Havens who should be ready to take over 2B sometime in 2013.
Matt Capps – 2 year/$10.5 million
Capps becomes the teams closer. In an already flooded market, Capps represents the best option for a closer that does not have a long history of injuries and is fairly inexpensive. Furthermore, he can mentor both Bobby Parnell and Pedro Beato who will eventually become the Mets closer, hopefully in 2013 or 2014. Please note: now that he is the Mets property without any restrictions, Beato, as well as Danny Herrera will start the year in Buffalo.
Todd Coffey – 1 yr/$1.65 million
Coffey can provide both as a setup man and as a guy who you need to get an out in a big spot. As with Parnell, Coffey can close in a pinch if need be.
Opening Day Roster 2012 Salary
CF – Angel Pagan $4,700,000
2B – Ryan Theriot $3,000,000
3B – Daniel Murphy $422,000
1B – Lucas Duda $414,000
LF – Jason Bay $18,130,000
RF – David DeJesus $3,500,000
SS – Ruben Tejada $414,000
C – Josh Thole $420,000
SP – Johan Santana $24,000,000
SP – James Shields $7,000,000
SP – RA Dickey $4,750,000
SP – Jon Niese $452,000
SP – Mike Pelfrey $5,900,000
Bench – Justin Turner $414,000
Bench – Willie Harris $1,100,000
Bench – Gerald Laird $1,500,000
Bench – Nick Evans $414,000
Bench – Laynce Nix $1,100,000
RP – Matt Capps $5,550,000
RP – Todd Coffey $1,650,000
RP – Manny Acosta $1,000,000
RP – Chris Capuano $2,500,000
RP – Bobby Parnell $433,500
RP – DJ Carrasco $1,200,000
RP – Tim Byrdak $1,100,000
As you can see, I am well under budget. In the event the Mets are contenders during the 2012 season there is more than enough room to acquire 1 or 2 players and fit them within the $110 million restrictions.
None of the players I have obtained will come at the cost of losing draft picks, and at the same time I have acquired 2 more (including the 27 overall pick) with the loss of Reyes. The farm system has now added another great starting pitcher and a valuable catcher, who both should be ready the following season. At worse this roster finishes under .500 again, which almost assures another Top 15 draft pick (key, in the event the Mets sign a Type A Free Agent in the 2012 off season).
As the 2012 season plays out Jason Bay must establish the type of numbers he was suppose to put up when he signed as a Free Agent. If he continues at the pace he has over the past two years then there’s no choice but to begin platooning or benching him outright for fear of his vesting option to begin to take shape. As with Bay, this may be the last chance Pelfrey has to impress the ball club. In a perfect world, he will improve this coming season and with his improved stock could be dealt to a team in need, allowing Pomeranz or Gee to take his spot in the rotation. Pagan is the only ‘major’ piece that can leave via free agency after the season. With plenty of room under the $110 threshold, there should be enough room to add a major free agent, specifically in Center Field.
It will not be pretty, but this is my team. I will root for this team, I will complain about this team but I will support this team. I have no loyalties to any player because when the chips are down they will have no loyalties to you. The New York Mets need to start fresh and building from within through the draft and obtaining other prospects is the way to go within a limited budget. And the 2011 off season is the year where that process needs to start.
I look forward to your comments and opinions and will reply to them when I have the opportunity to do so.