Each offseason, we lay to rest the hopes and dreams of the previous Mets season, to be replaced by new hopes and dreams, however illusory, of the season to come. To that end, for the last few years we've asked you to put on your thinking caps and assemble the best 2013 team you can, given certain resources and an agreed-upon framework for roster construction. We call it the Amazin' Avenue Offseason Plan contest, or AAOP. If you've seen that acronym pop up from time to time in the comments or elsewhere and weren't quite sure what to make of it, now you know.
Here's how it works: All entries must be submitted via FanPost. We will select the five best of the bunch, and then we'll present those finalists to the community for a vote. We will also be periodically bumping some of the best plans to the front page.
The Mets already have $74 million committed to payroll for 2013 before considering arbitration-eligible players like Mike Pelfrey and Andres Torres. They're said to be facing a $100 million payroll limitation for 2013, but we're going to loosen the reins and call it $110 million to give everyone a tiny bit of wiggle room to be creative with their plans.
As for the rules and guidelines, they are as follows.
- The title of your FanPost must begin with "AAOP:" (no quotes). You can follow that with whatever title you want, but it must begin with "AAOP:" so we can easily distinguish it from non-contest FanPosts. If you do not follow this rule your entry will be excluded from consideration. It's a very simple rule so try not to screw it up.
- The deadline for FanPost submission is 5pm ET on Friday, November 16. No exceptions.
- There is no mandatory length, but you'll want to be as verbose as is necessary to elucidate the genius of your plan.
- Total 2013 payroll can't exceed $110 million, give or take a few bucks. Same goes for 2014 and beyond, so don't try to backload your deals to skirt the 2013 payroll restriction.
- Use spell-check and proofread for grammar, punctuation, and usage errors. If you can't be bothered with making your entry readable then we can't be bothered with actually reading it. I implore you to use the serial comma in all cases. I'm not saying we'll dock you points for omitting it, but I'm not saying we won't.
- Try to make it look good. Add some images and some tables (feel free to use this grission-y HTML table-maker). MS Paint something. Strong writing, cogency, creativity, and thoughtfulness are of paramount importance, but aesthetics still count. I'm not saying that a straight essay can't win, but I am encouraging you to spice it up a bit.
- Feasibility of plan execution is important. Don't propose a trade of Bobby Parnell and Lucas Duda for Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey. It's not going to happen.
- Whether the Mets might realistically execute your plan doesn't matter as long as the plan itself can be considered realistic given the current free agent and trade markets.
- Free agent salaries should also be realistic. We're not going to quibble over a million dollars here or there (who would?), so if you want to sign David Wright to a contract extension and set his average annual salary at $17 million or $19 million it doesn't much matter for the purpose of this exercise.
- For 2013 free agents, use this list from MLB Daily Dish. For 2013 payroll obligations, use this spreadsheet.
And now the swag:
First place: New York Mets 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD Set from A+E Home Entertainment/MLB Productions.
Second place: New York Mets 50 Greatest Players DVD + New York Mets Baseball's Greatest Games: Santana's 2012 No-Hitter DVD from A+E Home Entertainment/MLB Productions.
The top five entries will be posted on Wednesday, November 21, with community voting to conclude on Sunday, November 25.
All entrants are subject to the official rules, found here.
The Amazin' Avenue Offseason Plan contest begins... NOW!