2013? Think 2012 Mets Fans

I think that most Mets fans can agree that the future of this team is bright.  Mainly due to the large amount of high upside talent we now have in our system.  This talent is projected to have an impact at the major league level around late 2012 and the beginning of 2013 at the latest.  I however am taking a more optimistic and shorter term outlook for this team to have sustained success. 

My plan hinges on a few transactions composed of a FA signing and a trade:

First being the issue of Mr. Jose.  Obviously the future success of this team is highly correlated to Reyes' resigning, and his ensuing health status in the years to come.  Reyes' market value has come down some from his astronomical MVP price.  But he is STILL Jose Reyes and is one of the best players in the majors when he is healthy.  I hope the Mets can sign him for a somewhat reasonable price, but all it takes is one crazy offer to pry him away.  Teams lurking include anybody from the Angels, Giants and the Nationals.  We would be somewhat lucky if we can get him around a 5 year $90 million deal.  

The next issues to address on this team are an additional impact bat and a rotation arm.  I still think we could really use another bat even if Reyes remains in NY.  And i think it would be prudent to go after a top arm in FA for next year with the status of Johan still anything from certain.  So the names I would look at to solve these two problems are CF Matt Kemp ans SP C.J. Wilson.   The supporting material for each move:

Kemp will be a FA after the 2012 season, however that is no early enough for us to have him for next year.  My reasoning that he would be available is twofold.  One being that the Dodgers are in a tough financial spot (yes, worse than the Mets) and second I feel that the Dodgers will not be able to retain him after next season.  So his would lead them to look to move Kemp for some rebuilding pieces.  The Dodgers have stated that Kemp has not been available, and he is their only star aside from Kershaw, but I think they need to take a look at moving him for the right package.  And I think the Mets would be able to put together that package necessary to get it done.  The list of players from which a deal could be made would be Familia, Mejia, Flores, Lutz, Satin(not Stinson), Kirk, Den Decker, Pagan, Murphy, Pelfrey, Gee, Goeddel, Havens, Schwinden and a host of other youngsters.  The deal would be centered around some of our top talent like Familia, Flores,  Lutz and a ML ready pitcher in Pelfrey or Gee.  This seems like it would be more than enough to get a deal done.  This deal could take place over the winter meetings after this season.  And since we gave up a large package for Kemp and would be a FA after the 2012 season, Sandy would need to resign him to a new deal, maybe in the Werth(less) range of 7 years $130 million.  And this would be a deal that would pay large dividends since Kemp is still very young, will be 27 at next season's start, and is an MVP caliber player.  Placing him in a lineup with our other deadly weapons of Wright, Reyes, Davis and Duda would present a very formidable offense. 

The next move would be to go after CJ Wilson, who is this years top FA starter.  This fact creates an issue since his price will be inflated due to the lack of other high end pitching available.  I do not view him as an ace, even though he will be almost paid like one, but more of a really strong no. 2.  Although he is leading the Rangers staff this season.  Another issue is that it is going to to take a good amount of money to pry him away from a top team in the AL like the Rangers, and a team he really enjoys playing for.  But if we were able to sign him he would present a really strong top of the rotation with Santana(if healthy).  His deal would probably be somewhere in the 5-7 year and $100-130 million range.  A Wilson signing is even more attractive because he will be 31 at the start of next year and has only been a starter for two years.  This makes me feel that his arm is much fresher and would have more life than a starter who had been throwing for years, like Santana.  Although it could be a little lower since Jered Weaver, a pitcher who I see as a superior and younger talent, signed a 5 year $85 million extension.  But he took a hometown discount so I don't think we can count on such a small price for the premier FA starter.  And a final reason why we shouldn't hesitate is that it looks like the Mets will finish with a bad enough record that our first round draft pick will be protected.  So we will not lose the most important pick and will allow Sandy to fill our system with another high upside talent that was lost in the Kemp trade.

The only caveat that creates an issue in these transactions is it requires a large amount of money to be spent.  And not to mention that Wright will be a FA after the 2013 season.  And Johan could also be cut lose after 2013, which I think actually helps since that could free up cash since he should be expendable with our young pitchers filling in like Wheeler.  And hopefully the Wilpons will open their wallets, ala Yankee fashion, since it looks like their lawsuit may be taking a beneficial turn.  And Sandy can convince them to spend on a team that would be a winner and put butts in the seats for a full season and postseason. 

I think the final and somewhat largest issue of this team, the bullpen, would be fixed from within and with a FA.  Namely Josh Stinson and Brad Holt as possibilities.

So provided the chips fall our way we could be looking at a really special team for 2012.  Some of the roster spots below could be altered depending on who would be included in the Kemp trade.  I also see the possibility that Bay could be moved, if Sandy is really creative, although I doubt it is possible.  So we would either have a cheap FA fill in for LF who would probably perform better than Bay or we would have the highest paid number eight hitter in history.  So here we go, our 2012 champion NY Mets.

Batting first:  Jose Reyes (SS), Daniel Murphy (2B), Matt Kemp (CF), Ike Davis (1B), David Wright (3B), Lucas Duda (RF), Josh Thole (C), Jason Bay/someone not named Bay (LF).

Rotation: Johan Santana (please be healthy), C.J Wilson, John Niese, R.A. Dickey, Matt Harvey.

That would be one scary lineup with few easy outs and very formidable power and great hitters 1-6.  The rotation would also follow suit and be incredibly good.  I take Gee and Pelfrey out since one could be traded and Harvey is obviously better than both.  The reason I include Harvey is that he has the stuff to get major league hitters out and I feel he would be ready to take it to the another level next season.  And I see no reason why he wouldn't be ready since we know he is a top talent and other young pitchers have been in the league after only shortened or no minor league experience like Porcello and Leake.  I see him as having a body that can handle major innings and a much superior talent to those two mentioned starters. 

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