With the 2009 season coming to an end, lets begin to chart out where the Mets are and where they might be heading.
The following is a list of all the Mets salary commitments for the 2010 season. I have included their actual salary commitments, and even tried my hand at projecting salary commitments for players heading into arbitration and those due raises. Asterisk denotes estimated salary figure.
Omir Santos – $400K
Josh Thole – $450K
No arbitration eligible players.
The Mets will most likely let Brian Schneider walk at the end of the season after a disappointing .214 campaign. They may make a move to add a veteran in the off-season, but yesterday Manuel sounded fine with the idea of using Santos as his starting catcher in ’10. Both Santos and Thole, if he should make the team, will most likely get the league minimum with a little more in Santos’ case. I have a blog scheduled for later today on Bengie Molina who I believe would be a good fit until Thole is ready. I like Santos, but I’m not sold on him being anything more than a solid backup.
1B – Daniel Murphy – $425K*
1B – Nick Evans – $400K
2B – Luis Castillo – $6MM
SS – Jose Reyes – $9MM
3B – David Wright – $10MM
The Mets left side of the infield is set, but there is still a chance that Luis Castillo might be moved, and Murphy’s hold on first base is very shaky at best despite his latest offensive surge. Castillo deserves to stay and his contract doesn’t look as bad as it once did, especially when O-Dog is making $7.5 million and losing playing time to Ron Belliard. Anderson Hernandez could make the team as a reserve or the Mets may attempt to resign Alex Cora who had some value before he got hurt. Carlos Delgado isn’t exactly out of the picture yet. He wants to stay, but the Mets may be gun shy after paying him $12 million for a lost season in ’09. My guess is that lack of cash will ensure that Murphy will be the opening day first baseman.
No arbitration eligible players.
LF – Angel Pagan – $1.2MM*
CF – Carlos Beltran – $18.5MM
RF – Jeff Francoeur – $4.5MM*
OF – Jeremy Reed – $1.5MM*
Arbitration Eligible Players: Jeremy Reed, Jeff Francoeur, Angel Pagan
Angel Pagan could potentially get a shot to play left field everyday next season. He’s also a solid insurance policy for Carlos Beltran. He will probably double his salary to somewhere in the $1.2MM range, Cory Sullivan will most likely not be resigned, and Jeremy Reed looks like a potential non-tender candidate. Jeff Francoeur could sign a 3-year deal if the Mets rumblings are true. Beltran is still one of the best centerfielders in the game.
Johan Santana – $21MM
John Maine – $3.2MM*
Mike Pelfrey – $1.8MM*
Oliver Perez – $12MM
Jon Niese – $400K
Fernando Nieve – $400K
Arbitration eligible players: John Maine
All but one of the pitchers will be entering spring training with some kind of injury concern. That’s an enormous amount of risk for a team trying to prevent another potential catastrophe. John Maine could be non-tendered, but most likely he signs for a small raise. Pelfrey will also get a raise and needs to have a solid 2010 season before he becomes arbitration eligible in 2011 at which point the Mets will non tender him or even trade him at the deadline. The Mets are stuck with Ollie unless they move him in return for another terrible contract. I’m not sure what roles Nieve and Niese will play until we see if the Mets target a top of the rotation guy in the off season. Also, don’t discount the fact that Redding could be re-signed for about $3 MM.
Francisco Rodriguez – $11.5MM
Pedro Feliciano – $2.3MM*
Sean Green – $600K*
Pat Misch – $415K*
Bobby Parnell – $400K
Brian Stokes – $415K*
Nelson Figueroa – $400K
Arbitration eligible players: Pedro Feliciano
I’m not sure that Misch, Green and Figgy will make the opening day bullpen. Pedro Feliciano will get some serious bucks in arbitration and get paid as much as an elite setup man, but Mets can’t afford to lose their only effective lefty specialist. Parnell shouldn’t even be in the major leagues, but the Mets are past the point of no return with him. Brian Stokes will certainly be back. K-Rod is making everyone nervous as his decreased velocity has now minimized the effectiveness of his once great changeup and suddenly he has become very hittable.
The Mets have some serious issues to address across the board. You could argue for hours about whether the Mets need a catcher, two starters, a first baseman, a left fielder and a setup man. The truth is that they probably need all those things.
The sad part of it all is the number of players who will be counted on to not just bounce back from injuries, but to do so with solid if not spectacular results. The odds are against that happening.
Currently, the Mets financial commitments tally somewhere in the $120MM range after raises. That leaves little wiggle room for Omar Minaya who may not even get more than $15 million dollars to plug all the holes and backup all the injury concerns.
Next up – Players who could help.