AAOP: A Modest Proposal
After two years of reading other peoples’ plans and finally having some free time, I’m plucking up my courage and throwing my hat into the AAOP ring. There are two competing missions for the front office this offseason
1) Make moves that put a watchable and at least somewhat competitive team in the field in 2013
2) Do not do anything to jeopardize the ongoing retooling process for 2014 and beyond
What I have put together is a modest attempt to serve both those objectives. It’s not particularly daring, but then I don’t necessarily expect the front office to be very daring with their off-season moves.
Taking it from the top, here are the players the Mets are already on the hook for:
David Wright (3B): $16,000,000 option
R.A. Dickey (SP/God): $5,000,000 option
Jason Bay: $6,000,000 buyout (essentially)
Johan Santana: $25,500,000 (not sure which year his buyout counts against)
Jon Neise (SP): $3,050,000
Frank Francisco (RP): $6,500,000
Total Committed: $62,050,000
That leaves $47,950,000 to play around with. I’m not doing contracts for Dickey and Wright because any extensions might leave the option year intact. Therefore, any future new deal probably won’t effect this year’s budget, or at least I assume it won’t. Before getting to free agents and trades, we have several arb eligible players, free agents of our own, and pre-arb players to deal with. Totals given to arbitration candidates are taken from MLB Trade Rumors.
Who is staying:
Ike Davis (1B): $2,800,000 (arb raise)
This one is pretty simple for me. I truly believe Ike Davis is the future at first base for the Mets.
Daniel Murphy (2B): $3,000,000 (arb raise)
I don’t know if Murph is the future for the Mets at 2B. He probably isn’t. That said, at least to the eye, Murphy appeared more comfortable at second as the season went on. While his power was not as good as it was (which isn't a whole lot), he still had a respectable year with the bat, with a wOBA of .318 and a slightly above average slash of .291/.332/.403. He is also only a year removed from having a WAR of 3.2. I’m also not convinced that any of the luminaries on the free agent list will be enough of an upgrade over Murphy to justify their higher pay. I could be wrong though
Bobby Parnell (RP): $1,500,000 (arb raise)
I think my opinion of Bobby Parnell is probably clearly established at this point, but in case it isn’t I am a big fan of Captain Fastball. I also don’t think the numbers support the "Parnell can’t close" narrative, although 14 IP is really too small to say anything either way. I will say that he reminds me of Armando Benitez in the sense that Armando was quite good most of the time in 99-01 but when he did blow up he blew up rather spectacularly. Parnell may have a tendency to make things interesting in the Chinese sense of the word, but I think he has a place in this bullpen for at least the next few seasons. He should definitely be challenging Frankie Frank for the closer’s job in spring training.
Scott Hairston (OF): $4,000,000 (2 years, $8,000,000 contract)
Last season Scott was, by most measures, one of the best bench pieces in baseball. If anything, his lefty mashing improved over 2011. While he will command a multi-year deal, I think it is worth it. What Scott gives you off the bench (lefty-mashing, competent OF defense) is not always easy to find and he is young enough that he should still be producing at a level which will help in 2014.
Kelly Shoppach (C): $3,250,000 (2 years, $6,500,000 contract)
What I said about Hairston essentially applies to Shoppach as well. Catchers are at a premium and all the other ones will cost more in trade (Saltalamachia) or in dollars (Martin, et al.) than what we could get Shop-Vac for.
Ronny Cedeno (IF): $1,150,000 (1 year contract)
Again, a case of being better dollar value than what other options would cost. It’s also kind of a weak free agent class for middle infielders
Ruben Tejada (SS): $500,000 (league minimum)
I used to worry about SS post-Reyes. Not anymore. Thanks Ruben!
Mike Baxter (OF): $500,000 (league minimum)
Savior of the no-hitter, Baxter was a perfectly competent 5th OF and costs little
Matt Harvey (SP): $500,000 (league minimum)
Part 1 of the future of our rotation
Dillon Gee (SP): $500,000 (league minimum)
Gee has been developing very nicely over the last few years and assuming he is unaffected by his shoulder troubles this year he should definitely be in the rotation, although he is probably the first casualty if Zack Wheeler is ready and nothing goes wrong knocks on wood
Josh Edgin (RP): $500,000 (league minimum)
Edgin’s performance this past season earns him the LOOGY spot.
As far as I am concerned these two are basically interchangeable, though McHugh might edge out Hefner slighty as a starter and vice versa as a long-man. I’m not really certain and I would take either one as the Spot-Starter/Long man while the other goes to Vegas.
Justin Turner (IF): $500,000 (league minimum)
Don’t murder me! *Ducks thrown implements of doom* The thing about Turner is that he is adequate and he is cheap. Being the last guy on the bench, it is sufficient for him to be merely adequate.The same reasoning for resigning Cedeno applies.
Total Remaining: $27,150,000
Who is going:
I feel like most of these are self-explanatory. Everyone on this list is either coming off injury (Byrdak, Pelfrey), probably getting more money than they were worth last season (Acosta, Torres, Thole), due for regression (Jon Rauch, he of the abnormally low BABIP last season), or just not good enough to resign (Ramirez and Young)
Sign Melky Cabrera (OF) to a 1 year deal for $5,000,000
I thought about this one for quite a bit. I’m not one to moralize about PED’s, but Melky’s story was just freaking bizarre (the fake website part especially). That aside, his jump in stats happened during his age 26-27 seasons. It’s hard to say, without knowing exactly how long Melky was using, how much of his increased production was due to finally figuring things out and how much due to whatever he was on. He did have an OPS+ of 121 and 158 in the last two seasons, which is nothing to sneer at. Granted, before coming to Kansas City he was only slightly above average, but I think it’s worth the risk. I figure the PED use will knock down his asking price, and he will be happy to take a 1 year deal that will allow him to prove that the numbers were from him, not from the PED’s
Sign Cody Ross (OF) to a 1 year deal for $3,500,000
I used to hate Cody Ross when he was a Marlin because it seemed like he killed us every time we played them. He then moved on to SF and Boston where he was pretty decent with the Bat and serviceable to good in the field. TZ (20) and UZR (2.9) both like him in RF. Not world-beating but perfectly serviceable. He has yet to garner a multi-year deal, and I see no reason why this year should be any different.
Why this is good for the Mets: Denard Span is an excellent defensive CF on a team friendly deal. UZR has him at 13.6 for his career in CF, though TZ is almost exactly the opposite. I’m more inclined to believe UZR though, but that might just be philosophical inclination. UZR/150 has him at 4.6. With the bat, Span walks almost as often as he strikes out and averages .284/.357/.389 with a wOBA last year of .325 and a wRC+ of 105. He’s also good for 15-20 SB a year. These are all things that the Mets could use. Span could anchor the OF defense in center for the next couple of seasons (he is signed through 2014 with an option for 2015) and provide some speed and plate discipline at the top of the lineup. The downside of Span is that he has been injured for chunks of the last few years, but all trades are risky. I think his upside outweighs the possible dangers
Why this is good for the Twins: The Twins are in need of two things, starting pitching and infield bodies. Outside of Justin Morneau the only IF they have rostered right now are Jamey Carroll and Trevor Plouffe. Similarly, in 2012 they started such unknowns as Samuel Deduno and Liam Hendriks. Carl Pavano is old and injury riddled, Scott Baker is coming off of TJ surgery, and Scott Diamond was probably their best starter all season. Familia may need some seasoning, either in Triple AAA or by getting hit around a bit at the beginning of the season, but I think he provides them with good mid-rotation innings. Valdespin provides middle infield help as well as some playing time in the outfield if needed. Lutz has a reputation for being injury prone but great when he is on the field. The imminent re-signing of Wright blocks him on the Mets until he is in his 30s, but on the Twins he would slot right in at 3B and could also back up Morneau at 1B if need be.
Why this is good for the Mets: J.P. Arrencibia is hitting about as well as Josh Thole did last season at the moment, with the exception of his power. He is reportedly good behind the plate and is marginally better at the moment against righties than lefties so he would pair decently with Shoppach. Arguably, Arrencibia maybe slowly adjusting to ML pitching still, as his stats have been trending upward. He also just finished only his second full major league season. Finally, he hits better away from the dome according to fangraphs There is definitely a risk that he is exactly who he appears to be now, a good defensive catcher who hits for power but not much else (2012 ISO of .202, triple slash of .233/.275/.435, wRC+ of 89). If he is going to be that, at the very least he is not yet arb eligible and would be cheaper than Josh Thole. He is also not Josh Thole or Mike Nickeas, which seems to be an important consideration for some. Further, Duda is blocked at his best position by Davis, and I have no confidence that he will be any easier to watch in LF than he would be in right. I realize that Arrencibia is not the most attractive name available but I feel like he can be had right now for a guy who is basically a spare part at this point.
Why this is good for the Blue Jays: Right now the Blue Jays have a surplus of catchers. They traded for John Buck, which should tell you how they feel about Arrencibia, plus they have Travis D’Arnaud in the pipeline (also probably not available straight up). In exchange, Duda gives them a 1B, which they don’t really have right now. Adam Lind can play 1B but the Jays have given him way more innings in LF and at DH. While the wrist may make Duda less attractive, he bounced back from a broken wrist while still in the minors. And again, it doesn’t seem like the Jays are valuing Arrencibia all that highly.
Sign J.P. Howell (RP) to a 1 year deal for $1,000,000
We must have a second lefty in the pen so that Josh Edgin isn’t doing all the work. Howell has been quietly adequate for the Rays for the last few seasons. While he does walk a few more people than I’d really like, he was decent for most of last season, excepting some truly horrific outings in September. He held lefties to a wOBA of .275 and struck out about 7.5 per 9. Not world beating sure, but consider that at $1,000,000 he’d be making less than Acosta will likely get if offered arbitration and be much better. That thought made me feel better about this.
Sign Mike Adams (RP) to a 2 year deal for $9,000,000 ($4.5 M per)
I’ve been a big fan of Mike Adams for quite some time. He averages 9.0 K/9 and a sub 3 ERA and FIP. He is coming off a bit of a down year, but his BABIP was .327, 60 pts higher than his career average of .260. In addition, the fact that he had a down year may lower his price a bit. Unfortunately he’s been a good reliever for a good stretch of time, so he will probably command a multi-year deal. I feel that he will still be able to contribute effectively in 2014 though.
Sign Joey Devine (RP) to a 1 year deal for $900,000
Devine isn’t too far removed from being a pretty good reliever for the A’s. Since he’s coming off of his second TJ surgery I’m guessing that demand will be low and if he can’t put it back together again at least he is coming cheap.
Total Payroll: $101,400,000
C: J.P. Arrencibia
1B: Ike Davis
2B: Daniel Muprhy
SS: Ruben Tejada
3B: David Wright
RF: Cody Ross
CF: Denard Span
LF: Melky Cabrera
SP/Master of Time and Space: R.A. Dickey
SP: Johan Santana
SP: Jon Niese
SP: Matt Harvey
SP: Dillon Gee
RP: Bobby Parnell
RP: Josh Edgin
RP: Jeremy Hefner/Collin McHugh
RP: JP Howell
RP: Mike Adams
RP: Joey Devine
RP: Frank Francisco
Conclusion: I think this roster gives the Mets a decent shot at being competitive and should be relatively fun to watch if all goes well. *knocks on wood again* In addition, most of the free agent acquisitions are on 1 year deals so if they turn into pumpkins on us at least the damages are confined to this season. Have at it though, I’d love to discuss this with everyone in the comments.