Anthony Gruppuso - USA TODAY Sports
Playing the role of Mets general manager, I added a few part-time players to the roster on Wednesday.
The SB Nation Winter Meetings Simulation in a nutshell: All rosters were reset to the day the World Series ended, and each simulated general manager was responsible for all decisions pertaining to his or her team's 25-man roster. You can read the full rules of the simulation and monitor all official transactions — posted by RoyalsRetro — at Royals Review.
Heading into Wednesday, there were still a lot of question marks on my version of the Mets, but at the end of the night, the team's 25-man roster looks a lot more complete. This team had a severe lack of right-handed hitting in the outfield and behind the plate, and with Daniel Murphy gone via trade, second base was an open slot, too. And, as always, the bullpen could use some help.
The real-life Mets supposedly don't have any interest in bringing back Kelly Shoppach, but I did and signed him to a two-year, $4 million contract. His very good track record against left-handed pitching was enough for me to commit to a second year.
Josh Edgin was the only left-handed pitcher whose spot in the big league bullpen looked certain, but I went out and signed Randy Choate to the same deal that Shoppach received: two years, $4 million. He'll be the primary LOOGY, which should help preserve Edgin's arm in the long run. Yes, 2013 will be Choate's age-37 season, but Choate hasn't been on the Pedro Feliciano program at any point in his career and can get lefties out.
To address the need at second base, I signed Kelly Johnson to a two-year, $10 million deal. His on-base percentage leaves something to be desired, but he's a powerful bat at second and didn't require a three-year deal like Marco Scutaro and Jeff Keppinger — both of whom got three-year deals in real life, too.
Jeff Baker was willing to sign a one-year, $1.5 million deal, and that was too good to pass up. He's a right-handed hitter with a career .362 wOBA against left-handed pitchers. As a result, the team's outfield is ready to begin the season. Scott Hairston and Mike Baxter will platoon in left field, while Baker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis will platoon in right. In total, these Mets will pay $7 million in salary in 2013 to cover left field and right field. Plus, Nieuwenhuis and Baxter can spot start in center when Denard Span — acquired by the Mets in the simulation rather than the Nationals — needs a day off.
Last but not least, this being me, I signed Manny Acosta to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. He's better than most people think!
Here's the updated big league payroll: