With free agency set to begin in real life this evening, we figured there’s no better time than today to start this year’s edition of the Amazin’ Avenue Offseason Plan contest, best known in these parts as the AAOP. If you’re not familiar, the basic concept of it is that you pretend to be the general manager of the Mets and craft a plan for the offseason in a FanPost on this site. We’ll read through the entries, choose finalists, and present them to the community, which will vote on the winners.
Here's how it works: All entries must be submitted via FanPost. We will select the five best of the bunch for the aforementioned vote. And once we have winners, we’re hoping to do something AAOP-related on the podcast, Amazin’ Avenue Audio.
Please note that if you haven't signed up for a username on the site, you'll need to do so more than 24 hours before the contest ends, as there is a 24-hour waiting period before a new user can post on the site.
For the purposes of this year’s AAOP, we’re setting the maximum Opening Day payroll for 2018 at $145 million. It hasn’t sounded like the Mets will actually be willing to have a payroll of that amount, but let’s play this out in a hypothetical world where the team has a payroll in the top half of Major League Baseball. And your AAOP begins at the end of the Mets’ season, which means you can make different decisions on Nori Aoki, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jerry Belvins than the actual Mets did if you so choose. Note that coaching staff moves aren’t part of all of this, as the focus is on making the Mets’ Opening Day roster for next season.
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 5:00 PM EST on Sunday, November 12. 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 2018 payroll can't exceed $145 million, give or take a few bucks. Same goes for 2019 and beyond, so don't try to backload your deals to skirt the 2018 payroll restriction.
- Use these contract values for any arbitration-eligible players you wish to re-sign for 2018.
- 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.
- Try to make it look good. Add some images and some tables. MS Paint something. Strong writing, cogency, creativity, and thoughtfulness are of paramount importance, but aesthetics still count. We're not saying that a straight essay can't win, but we are encouraging you to spice it up a bit.
- Feasibility of plan execution is important. Don't propose a trade of Juan Lagares for Mike Trout. 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 Jay Bruce to a contract and set his average annual salary at $15 million or $17 million, it doesn't much matter for the purpose of this exercise.
- For 2018 free agents, use this list. For future payroll obligations, use this spreadsheet.
And now, the prizes: