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McShane's AAOP: This Ain't No Picnic

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Looking back at it now, I'm still a fan of my first Amazin' Avenue Offseason Plan from last winter, obscure titular reference to Mike Watt included. But that was last year, and the plan wasn't perfect since I included Pat Misch in the rotation over Dillon Gee. Whoops! Hopefully this plan is an improvement upon the last one.

With a cap on the budget at approximately $110 million, bringing back Jose Reyes makes for a rather tough task in filling out the rest of the roster, but I'm going to do it anyways. There are countless reasons to bring Reyes back, and in my world, he's signing to a six-year, $110 million deal, which would be structured as follows.

Player 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Jose Reyes 17.0 17.5 18.5 20.0 18.5 18.5

If Alex Rodriguez was open to the idea of a contract that hit a peak in the middle and slightly declined thereafter, I'm thinking Reyes might be open to doing the same. Sure, it's apples and oranges, but Reyes would still be making a pretty great salary in the later years of the deal. Perhaps another team blows him away with way more years and money, but this contract seems good enough to make him stay. 

As soon as the ink has dried on the deal, I'd call up the Minnesota Twins and make a deal for Kevin Slowey. They didn't get along this year, and Slowey is younger, cheaper, and slightly better than Mike Pelfrey. I'll send the Twins Mark Cohoon and Armando Rodriguez, two pitchers who may never crack the Mets' roster, and Slowey will make about $3 million in 2012. He's also under team control for 2013 if I want to keep him around another year after this one. The acquisition of Slowey allows me to non-tender Mike Pelfrey, who would probably have cost about $6 millon next year.

With the savings on Pelfrey in hand, I'll go out and sign Javier Vazquez to a one-year, $7.5 million deal with a team option for a second year at $8 million. Perhaps the team option wouldn't inspire Vazquez to sign, but he'd have an idea of what to expect in 2013 if he pitches as well as he's capable of pitching in 2012. With Vazquez and Slowey in the rotation, Dillon Gee returns to Buffalo and will be the first pitcher called upon in the event of an injury.

Other than Pelfrey, I'll tender contracts to all of the arbitration-eligible players: Angel Pagan, Ronny Paulino, Manny Acosta, and Taylor Buchholz. All four will be reasonably compensated for their roles with the team.

In the bullpen, Jonathan Broxton signs to a one-year, $4 million deal with incentives for innings pitched to make it a little bit better of a deal for him. It's hard to believe such a deal would land Broxton, but with the flooded relief pitching market, the deal seems feasible. The rest of the bullpen returns from last year, except D.J. Carrasco is sent to the minors to provide depth. I'm not in love with  this bullpen, but I'm making a team on a $110 million budget with several large contracts, and Jose Reyes is still on it. Oh well.

The rest of the position players will also look much like last year, with Daniel Murphy starting at second base and providing excellent offense for the position. I'll bring back Willie Harris for another year at $1 million since he showed an ability to get on base and play the corner outfield positions and even a little bit at second or third base without embarrassing himself. I'd sign Rick Ankiel to a one-year, $1.5 million deal as the fourth outfielder. He's capable of playing center field, which can't be said of anyone else on my bench, and he can hit for power off the bench.

My complete 2012 Opening Day roster:

Pos. Player $ (Millions)
C Josh Thole 0.4
1B Ike Davis 0.4
2B Daniel Murphy 0.4
3B David Wright 15.3
SS Jose Reyes 17.0
LF Jason Bay 18.1
CF Angel Pagan 4.7
RF Lucas Duda 0.4
Bench Rick Ankiel 1.5
Bench Justin Turner 0.4
Bench Nick Evans 0.4
Bench Ronny Paulino 1.5
Bench Willie Harris 1.0
SP Johan Santana 24.0
SP R.A. Dickey 4.8
SP Javier Vazquez 7.5
SP Jon Niese 0.5
SP Kevin Slowey 3.0
RP Jonathan Broxton 4.0
RP Manny Acosta 1.0
RP Taylor Buchholz 0.9
RP Tim Byrdak 1.2
RP Bobby Parnell 0.4
RP Daniel Ray Herrera 0.4
Minors D.J. Carrasco 1.2
Total 110.3

With a salary that's greatly reduced from the 2011 season, this team should still be an improvement. A lot still depends on whether or not Johan Santana is capable of pitching like his old self for a full season, but the offense should still score plenty of runs, and the combination of Santana, Javier Vazquez, and Kevin Slowey should be a significant improvement over Mike Pelfrey, Chris Capuano, and Dillon Gee.

The only guaranteed multi-year deal in the plan is for Jose Reyes, and none of the free agent signings would cost the Mets a future draft pick. Pitching depth at the upper levels of the minor leagues could still be an issue, but there's an outside chance that one of the top pitching prospects in the organization could make his big league debut by the end of the year if necessary. Overall, the team might have a shot at contending, but the future will not have been mortgaged if that effort proves futile.


Be sure to read the official rules and make your own AAOP for the contest. Just to be clear, the plans written by Amazin' Avenue writers are not considered part of the contest.