*Mandatory pic of Ike in case my gf reads this - and yes he stays.
2012 Budget Available: $100 Million
Bye Bye (Free Agents, Releases, and non-tendered)
This has already happened. No discussion needed here. With $10 million of his $16 million deferred to 2014 and 2015, that gives us a bit more wiggle room for this year’s budget. He's costing us only $6 mil this year.
Arbitration eligible, AT made $2.7 million in 2012. If we were to offer him arb, the lowest he could make would be $2.16 million. That’s simply too much for a player, who at this point in his career should only be a defensive replacement off the bench. He’s 35 in 2013, and has totaled 3.9 fWAR over the last two seasons, largely due to above average defense at a premium defensive position. Using $4.5MM/fWAR as a guideline, it seems likely that Torres would be worth whatever arbitration gave him; however, THE METS CAN GET HIM FOR CHEAPER.
Since, once again, money is the name of the game; Andres will not be offered arbitration.
Pelfrey, 28, earned $5.68MM this past season despite undergoing Tommy John surgery. For the Mets to retain him through arbitration, they'd have to offer him a salary in the $6MM range. The Mets will non-tender him because THEY CAN GET HIM FOR CHEAPER.
Both men non-tendered and offered minor league deals. Manny might take it, but Ramon won’t. Neither guy is on the final 25 man roster.
We offer Kelly $600-800K for organizational catching depth. He turns it down and goes elsewhere.
He did well in 2012, but he’s due for some serious regression due to a very low BABIP (.222). He walks.
Hello (Extensions, Free Agent Signings, Trades, Call Ups)
Pick up the options of David Wright ($16MM) and R.A. Dickey ($5MM). This has already happened, so there isn’t much to discuss here. There is, however, much to discuss with how the Mets proceed, now that the options have been picked up.
The Mets have control of David through 2013 at $16MM. Many teams would be clamoring for an elite level 3B to put them over the top, and the Mets could bring back a lot of pieces to fill the numerous holes in their lineup and bullpen. But trading from a weakness, the offense, to fill holes in your weakness, the offense AND bullpen, is probably not the most prudent behavior. With Wilmer Flores still hitting in the minors and making a 2013 or 2014 appearance in the majors a likelihood, trading Wright is less unforgivable.
Despite that, the 30 year old (in December) veteran has posted more than 5 fWAR on average throughout his career. He is also the most accomplished position player the Mets have ever had (Beltran and Piazza may have arguably been better players, but they played less time on the Mets). With 4-6 really solid years likely left in his tank, you don’t let players like this walk away if at all possible.
Wright’s camp wants at least $130 million guaranteed, while the Mets have offered $100 million. So, we’ll meet somewhere in the middle: a six-year extension at $19MM per year for total contract of $114MM through 2019. David will be well paid, happy, and hopefully retire a Met.
Side note: in an ideal world the contract would be adjusted to include 2013, so that this year’s salary can be backloaded to make for more budget space in the upcoming year. To make that work Wright would only make $10MM in 2013, and get an additional $1MM (or $1.1MM for interest) in years 2014-2019. Why would he do this? Simply put, to field a more competitive team in 2013. At age 30 Wright will be looking to win as soon as possible. I’m not sure how the Player’s Union would accept this, so I’ve kept the more standard contract on the table.
I’m sure everyone knows by now how I feel about the RA situation. RA is awesome. He’s one of the only reasons anyone watched Mets games at the end of last season. He’s also cheap in 2013 ($5MM), coming off his best season ever and one of the best seasons among all pitchers in 2012 (Cy Young Winner), he’s really old (38 years old), and plays at a position that the Mets have some depth (starting pitcher). What does that add up to? You guessed it. RA has a ton of value to teams trying to make a push NOW. And he also poses a lot of risk if the Mets resign him for near his desired contract of 4-5 years at $12.5-15MM/year. I’d be willing to sign him to a 2 year extension at $10MM/year, but there is no chance Dickey takes this deal. So, this is the time to part ways. NOW – when his value is the HIGHEST.
So, who do we trade with? Luckily, just about EVERYBODY will be interested in a pitcher like RA. And that leads to the two greatest words to any seller in history: BIDDING WAR.
The Twins have been mentioned as a trade partner, but I don’t see them in win now mode, so a deal for Dickey is unlikely.
The Angels and Red Sox seem to be the best fits for a trade, but when those two teams get involved their rivals will surely to get their hands in the cookie jar. The Rangers, Oakland, Yankees, and possibly now the Blue Jays (they received two big pitchers from the Marlins, so they may be done with major trades).
I’ll stick to the Angels and Red Sox, since they have the biggest need and the others will simply drive up cost to acquire Dickey.
Any deal for Dickey has to start with one of their major league outfielders, and a catcher. That outfielder would have to be either Mark Trumbo or Peter Bourjos. If I was their GM I would be quicker to get rid of Trumbo – he’s older, plays worse defense, and pretty much only hits for power. Bourjos on the other hand plays elite level defense, can run the bases, and should see some improvement in his bat as his low BABIP regresses to a more normal number (.274 in 2012). Despite this, I see the Angels as more inclined to trade PB.
They need to include a catcher, and they’ve seemed to have softened on Hank Conger, who frankly hasn’t hit a lick at the major league level. He has unrealized potential and is a bit of a risk for the Mets, but all trades involve some level of risk.
The deal could stop here, but with other suitors throwing their hat into the ring, the Angels will have to give up more. RHP Garrett Richards (#58 Sickels ranked prospect) is added to the deal.
The Red Sox need pitching – desperately. They have some very good minor league and major league ready pieces that fit nicely with the Mets’ needs. A trade would have to include Ryan Lavarnway (or possibly Jarrod Saltalamacchia). Minor league outfield prospects Brandon Jacobs(#105) and Jackie Bradley (#36) will also be included, but neither of these guys is major league ready.
This is a major haul for the Mets that will give them depth in the organization for the upcoming years, but it only gives them one (1) major league ready player. Including someone like Ryan Kalish, doesn’t really do much to sweeten the pot.
Both of these deals include a lot of pieces that may or may not be useful moving forward. The Angels’ deal incorporates more MLB ready players, but those players have been mostly disappointing at the Major League level. The Red Sox deal includes some good OF prospects, who will immediately bolster our weak minor league system at that position, but only one MLB ready player.
The Mets will go for the Angels deal. Two high upside, buy low guys like Bourjos and Conger are too good to pass up. Both guys get immediately slotted in to the starting lineup, with Conger splitting time with Thole and Cron going to minors. Richards becomes SP depth and a possible bullpen piece for the 2013 season.
He’s 35 next season and hit .230/.327/.337 in 2012. His walk rate was excellent, but his batting average and power were nearly non-existent. He continued to play plus defense and run the bases well, so Andres definitely has value as a fourth outfielder and a starting centerfielder in a pinch. Bill James predicts a bit of an uptick in offensive production, so offer him a deal for $800K and go as high as $1.1 million. We’ll use the latter number, assuming he turns down anything less than a million.
The Mets are going to need starting pitching depth, especially with the trade of Dickey. They need a place holder for Zack Wheeler, who should be up by the All Star break, if not sooner. Enter Pelf. He’s coming off a major surgery (TJ), and looking to redeem himself. What does that mean? He’ll sign for cheap. He’s been worth an average of 1.7 WAR since he became a full time starter in 2008, and if he can remain healthy chances are he’ll give us slightly above replacement level value. Everyone is going to assume he gets a minor league deal, but he won’t accept that low of a deal. He gets the same deal as Chris Young in 2011: $1.1 million base salary with incentive going up to $4.5 million. Since he’s only a place holder and may not be ready to start the season, we’ll assume he only costs $2 million for the entire year.
We’re looking at essentially the exact same player, with Scott having a little more versatility in the outfield and Jonny walking at a much higher rate (10.1% to Scott’s 6.8%). Both guys can hit for power and both guys mash lefties. No news here. We offer 1 year $2.5 million or 2 years at $2 million a year. Whoever bites first gets the deal. Hairston will take the offer to stay in NY.
Yup, this guy. We take a shot at him for $6 million. He’ll propably regress to his pre-2011 numbers, or he’ll figure out a way to cheat the system more effectively. I’m hoping for the latter. Anything ~.800 OPS, I would consider a huge success. And of course there is a chance he gives something closer to .906 OPS in 2012. Despite being a below average defender, he’s almost certainly better than Lucas Duda in a corner spot.
*EDIT: Melky signed for 2 years/$16 million total. That's entirely too much money for him.
The bullpen stays largely the same, with Frank Francisco, Bobby Parnell, Jeremy Hefner (or Collin McHugh). Josh Edgin replaces Tim Byrdak as the loogy with Robert Carson in the minors for depth. One of Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia, and Garrett Richards takes another middle relief spot (whoever is deemed less likely to be a quality starting pitcher at this level). Familia’s stuff is so good, I think he gets slotted in here.
Soria missed the entire 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and there are mixed reports about when he’ll be ready for 2013. Some say he’ll be ready for Spring Training. With that in mind we give him a one year contract at $6 million. He accepts in hopes of having a bounce back year and winning a large contract in 2014
With a 3.03 FIP and a 2.48 ERA, JB had a bounce back year. His K/9 was well below his 10.96 career number, and it was down from 2011 (7.11). His LOB% jumped to 79% (career total 73.8%). These are all usually bad signs, but his HR/9 came back to normal (0.31) after a rough 2011 season (1.42). On top of that, his GB% jumped significantly from a career rate of 46.9% to 53.8%. Upping his K/9 would be a better predictor of future success, but keeping the ball on the ground and not giving up a ton of home runs will help his value. Sign him for 2 years/$14 million total.
C: Hank Conger
1B: Ike Davis
2B: Daniel Murphy
3B: David Wright
SS: Ruben Tejada
BE: Josh Thole
BE: Justin Turner
LF: Scott Hairston/Lucas Duda (platoon)
CF: Peter Bourjos
RF: Melky Cabrera
BE: Andres Torres
BE: Mike Baxter
BE: Lucas Duda
2. Jon Niese
3. Dillon Gee
4. Matt Harvey
5. Mike Pelfrey/Zack Wheeler
CL: Frank Francisco
SU: Jonathan Broxton
MR: Bobby Parnell
MR: Joakim Soria
MR: Jeurys Familia
MR: Josh Edgin
LR: Jeremy Hefner/Collin McHugh
The total budget comes to $95,040,000. That leaves ~$5 million to play with the roster mid-season when the Mets look to solidify their run at the playoffs, all while keeping the roster primed for a big 2014 and beyond run, or if you wanted to be really accurate, the $5mil can be used for Johan's 2014 buyout.