The third-best AAOP entry we received -- with an average score of 7.75 -- was My plan to turn the Mets into "WORLD PHU**IN' CHAMPTIONS" by Schmidtxc. The highlights.
- Really well-written (you'll notice this one as a running theme among the winners).
- Trades Luis Castillo for Milton Bradley. Bradley's attitude and injury history are troubling, but so are Castillo's age and declining skillset.
- Takes a gamble on Nick Johnson at first for $4.5 million. This one will pay off big if Johnson can stay healthy.
- Signs Felipe Lopez for two years, $10.5 million. Lopez is a Type-A but the Brewers didn't offer him arbitration so there's no compensation (we didn't know this at the time of the AAOP, of course).
- Signs Matt Holliday for seven years, $119 million, the same deal Carlos Beltran received five years ago. The Mets forfeit their second-round pick.
- Signs Rich Harden for one year, $7 million, with an option for 2011 at $11 million. Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, and John Maine round out the rotation, so we've still got some question marks here. Minor league deals with Fernando Nieve, Noah Lowry, Mark Prior, and Nelson Figueroa give the Mets some serviceable depth.
- Signs Kelvim Escobar for one year, $1.5 million to augment a bullpen that features Francisco Rodriguez, Bobby Parnell, Pedro Feliciano, Brian Stokes, Sean Green, and Pat Misch. Former closers Chad Cordero and B.J. Ryan are inked to minor league deals.
- Signs Aroldis Chapman for four years, $35 million. This is both risky and expensive, as the author points out, but he had some money to burn and took a chance on the flamethrowing Cuban.
There were a lot of similar plans submitted but this one was fleshed out the best of the group. The pitching staff is not spectacular, and we're relying quite a bit on questionable commodities like John Maine and Oliver Perez. The good news is that the Mets have a high-upside starter in Harden to support Santana in the rotation and with the additions of Lopez, Holliday, and Bradley, the Mets should have one of the best lineups in the league. Lopez and Holliday will also improve the team's defense at their respective positions.
Congratulations to Schmidtxc for a very well-rounded AAOP. Though we had only planned on giving away a grand prize to the overall winner, ACTA Sports was kind enough to sponsor some giveaways for us so Schmidtxc takes home a copy of the Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010.