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AAOP: The Amazin' Avenue Offseason Plan Contest, 2014-15

Matt Harvey is set to return. David Wright's shoulder will be all better. What would you do with the rest of the Mets' roster this winter?

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The time has come for the Amazin' Avenue Offseason Plan Contest, affectionately referred to around here as "AAOP." Unfortunately, the Mets' 2014 season came to an end nearly three weeks ago, and Mets fans have no choice but to dream on what could happen in 2015 and beyond. With that, it's time to pretend you are the general manager of the Mets and build a roster heading into next season.

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 have $54 million committed to 2015 payroll, not including any of the arbitration-eligible players they choose to retain. If they were to retain all of those players, they would have approximately $84 million committed to 2015 payroll. While the Mets' payroll has been on the decline for years, let's set the payroll ceiling at a generous $95 million.

As for the rules and guidelines, they are as follows.

  1. 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.
  2. The deadline for FanPost submission is 5:00 pm EDT on Wednesday, October 22. No exceptions.
  3. There is no mandatory length, but you'll want to be as verbose as is necessary to elucidate the genius of your plan.
  4. Total 2015 payroll can't exceed $95 million, give or take a few bucks. Same goes for 2016 and beyond, so don't try to backload your deals to skirt the 2015 payroll restriction.
  5. Use these contract values for any arbitration-eligible players you wish to re-sign for 2015.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Feasibility of plan execution is important. Don't propose a trade of Dillon Gee for Mike Trout. It's not going to happen.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 Hanley Ramirez to a contract and set his average annual salary at $22 million or $24 million it doesn't much matter for the purpose of this exercise.
  11. For 2015 free agents, use this list. For future payroll obligations, use this spreadsheet.

And now the swag:

First place: Topps 1986 Mets Archives Collection Box - Series 1

Second place: Citi Field blueprint

Third place: The New York Mets Essential Games of Shea Stadium

The Amazin' Avenue Offseason Plan contest begins... NOW!

All entries are subject to the official rules, found here.