Heading into 2013 the New York Mets need to keep the fan base interested while building excitement for 2014 season when over $30MM in payroll flexability opens up for use along with the maturation of many of our top prospects. In order to keep fans interested in 2013 Sandy Alderson will need to address 3 areas of concern (Catcher, Bullpen, and Right Field) while staying under a budget of approximately $105 Million.
Starting Pitching ($40.03MM)
This position is the Mets main source of strength. With Santana, Niese, Dickey, and Gee already under contract for 2013 as well as Harvey and McHugh seemingly major league ready no moves need to be made. In fact someone needs to be the odd man out and for now that would be McHugh at least until Santana can no longer go. He'll be the first call up followed by Zack Wheeler hopefully not being called until September.
*$5.50 Million Buyout for 2014 included.
R.A. Dickey extension
While Dickey IS under contract for 2013 and an extension is not needed for the purposes of AAOP, one is absolutely needed. Knuckleballers, let alone the quality, are hard to come by and when a team finds one they are generally useful for many many years (i.e. Tim Wakefield). I would offer R.A. a mixed deal that would a) extend him and b) offer him a deal similar in nature to the deal Tim Wakefield received from Boston. The contract would be for 3 years/$32.5 million with $2.5 million buyout or a rolling mutual option at $5.5 million each year with $2.5 million buyouts at the end of each year.
|2016||$7.50||Additional $2.50 if bought out|
|2017||$5.50||Additional $2.50 if bought out|
This is where the money needs to be spent. This is where the Mets are going to get more wins. The bullpen (including starts by Hefner) accounted for 38 losses nd were consistently last in the league in ERA all season long. Recently released Cardinal RHP Kyle McClellan should be a target this season as a swing man who can make a spot start when needed. He is ahead of his shoulder surgery rehab schedule and should begin throwing sometime this month. Mets should be able to swipe him up for a 1 yr/ $1.5 million contract.
Kameron Loe is another target of mine. Loe elected free agency after being DFA'd last week by Milwaukee. His 7.2 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 show that there is some potential there as a middle reliever. Loe was expected to get $2.6M in arbitation but the Mets should be able to sign him with a 2 yr/$5.0 million contract offer.
My third bullpen target is former D'Backs RP Matt Lindstrom. Lindstrom had a 2.68 ERA last season with a 7.7 K/9 and 2.77 BB/9 rates. At $4.0 million that was recently declined, Matt should have lots of suitors so the Mets may have to offer a 3rd year to get him. I'll offer him a 2 yr/$9 million contract with a mutual option for a 3rd yr at $6.0 million to get him.
Lastly my final target would be a little known power lefty in Alex Linshaw. Linshaw recently declared free agency after being DFA'd by the Cubs. He has a mid 90's fastball with a decent slider and a big breaking curve which is made better by a deceptive motion, which is more than Robert Carson can say. He had a 4.50 ERA with 11.6 K/9 and 6.4 BB/9 rates before we was claimed by Chicago where he promptly stunk up the place. The walks are severly concerning but as a second lefty to complement Edgin I'm going with tools here. Should be able to get with a 1 yr/ 750k contract.
Parnell is in line to get $1.5MM via arbitration.
It's become apparent to us all that Josh Thole is not the answer at the catching position for us. He still provides usefulness as back-up/personal catcher for R.A. Dickey and is only expected to get $1.2MM through arbitration so let not ship him out just yet. However a new starting catcher or at least a platoon is needed. This is where I bring in former Rookie of the Year Geovany Soto. Geovany is expected to be non-tendered after a dismal season with the Texas Rangers where he had a triple slash line of .198/.270/.343. However he managed to squeeze in 11 HR's in his injury riddled season and is only two years removed from a .280, 17 HR season. His BABIP in 2012 was 70 points below average so some bad luck may have been in play as well. Even as a platoon player he has value with a .904 career OPS against left handers which Thole struggles against. He is also defensively sound, has a decent arm, and can draw walks. I'm offering a 2 yrs/$7.0 million.
No changes needed here. I liked this infield a lot. Davis is expected to get $2.8MM via arbitration and Murphy is expected to get $3.0MM via arbitration.
David Wright Extension
Pay the MAN!!! There aren't that many good third baseman on the market nowadays which makes signing Wright even more important. Reports have him wanting 7 years/ $130 mil while the Mets are offering 6 years $110 mil. I'll give him his 7 years for a slight bump down in cost and I'll also front load the contract. 7 years/$126 million.
Alright this needs some work. First off, I am going to stay with Lucas Duda in LF and give Kirk Nieuwenheis CF. Kirk showed flashes of being an above average CF who will K a lot while Duda will bounce back offensively but give us some heartburn defensively. Now as for RF, as much as I would like Scott Hairston back, I just cant live with the split nor do I believe that he'll repeat his 2012 season. That being said I am going after former Giants OF Nate Schierholtz. Nate is a good defensive RF with a very strong and accurate arm. He's a gap to gap hitter, doesn't strike out a lot, but doesnt have much power. He consistently puts the ball in play and has the ability to hit .280 or better with maybe 10 HRs. Lastly this guy will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. He was the odd man out in the Giants outfield and ended up getting traded to the Phils who are now expected to non-tender him. The Mets could use some more grission like this. 2 years/$5 million should do the trick. Schierholtz is expected to only make $1.6 million through arbitration.
Last but not least the bench. Quickly going through it we have Josh Thole, Justin Turner, Jordany Valdespin, and Mike Baxter already. I dont feel the need to make a move here this year so I'll just add in Zach Lutz to be my corner infielder backup. We all know he can hit the problem has been staying healthy. Yes it seems like a weak bench but the bench was not the reason we lost games last season.
With these 25 players the payroll comes out to be $90.35MM. Add in Jason Bay's $6.0MM for this year, Bobby Bonilla's yearly $1.19MM, and 15 more players on the 40 man roster at league minimum ($7.35MM) and you end up with a team salary of $104.89MM.
2014 Salary commitments would be approximately $70 to 80MM depending on arbitration cases leaving the team with $25-35MM to play with in 2014 which is slated to be a better free agent class than 2013