MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Mets have approximately $110M in salary commitments for 2010. Assuming that Omar (and Jeff) can spend and equal last year’s payroll, he has approximately $30M to spend. Below is a position by position account of who we have and what we need. After spending the money, let’s see if we have a chance next year.
- 1st base – Daniel Murphy, Carlos Delgado, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Johnson, Mark DeRosa. Forget about Fielder and Gonzalez; we’d have to mortgage the farm and more. A platoon of Murphy and a RH 1st baseman would be the cheapest way to go. Sign Mark DeRosa for $6M. He can platoon at 1st base and play 2nd base. Assumption – Sign DeRosa: This uses $6M of the $30M (but see 2nd base for more)
- 2nd base – Luis Castillo, Orlando Hudson, Dan Uggla, Mark DeRosa. I think it makes sense to trade Castillo and pay $4M of his $6M salary. Then go out and get either Hudson ($5M), trade for Uggla (with arbitration he could get $6M),or sign DeRosa ($6M). If we sign DeRosa, we can use him as the regular 2nd baseman and the RH platoon at 1st base. Assumption – Sign DeRosa (his salary is already included in 1st base above and we save $2M from the Castillo trade).
- SS – Jose Reyes – Assume Jose is healthy and ready to go. Assumption – No use of the $30M
- 3B – David Wright – Wright will play his 159 games next year. Still, there are question marks. I don’t think we can assume that David can return to his ’08 numbers. Also, David has a terrible arm at 3rd base and it really hurts the team. Assumption- No use of the $30M.
- LF- We need one. Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, Carl Crawford. Otherwise Pagan is the probable starter. Pagan would be best suited as a roving outfielder filling in for any of the OF positions while still playing 100+ games. Matt Holliday, and Jason Bay, will be very costly at $15M+ per year for 5+ years. How about trading for Carlos Lee of the Astros? He has 2 years and $36M left; so there is no long term commitment. The cheaper option is Crawford ($10M next year), but he would have significant trade value. Matt Holliday is the best option.. Assumption - Sign Matt Holliday: This uses $18M of the $30M.
- CF - Carlos Beltran- Hopefully, one of the few spots that there is no question mark. Assumption – No use of the $30M.
- RF – Jeff Francoeur or other. Let’s say it’s Francoeur. And let’s hope, he hits 20 home runs. Assumption – No use of the $30M.
- Catcher – Strong possibility of a tandem of Thole and someone else. I think Thole will make the team and split duties with someone like Benjie Molina or Rod Barajas (maybe trade for Mike Napoli). Molina made $6.5M in ’09, but should make less next year. He hit 20 HR and 80 RBI but hit .265 with an OBP of .285 (only 13 walks), and threw out 25 out 110 potential base stealers. Barajas made 2.5M in ’09. He hit 19 homers and 71 RBI but hit .226 with an OBP of .258, and he threw out 27 out of 80 attempted base stealers. These guys hit home runs, but offensively, nothing else. Is Thole good enough defensively to play 100 games? And with no power? Even with Thole, it makes sense to have a safety net. Assumption – Get one of the catchers above: This uses $3M of the $30M.
- Johan Santana – Had surgery on elbow at end of year. But he should be healthy and ready to go for 2010. Assumption - No use of $30M
- Oliver Perez – Nightmare of a season. Can he even make the team? Or trade him for another bad contract. Assumption – No use of the $30M.
- John Maine – Missed several months of season due to shoulder injury. He pitched effectively in September, giving hope that he could be in the starting rotation as a #3/#4. Assumption – No use of the the $30M.
- Mike Pelfrey – Very disappointing season. With a bad performance in the Spring, he might find himself back in the minors. The best you can count on him for is a #5. Assumption – No use of the $30M
- Jon Niese – Coming off bad hamstring injury. Missing the end of the season could set him back from an experience point of view. Could very well be the #5 starter. Assumption – No use of the $30M.
- Tim Redding – If he’s back, even with his solid finish, he’s a #5 or in the bullpen.
- Bobby Parnell - He’s in the bullpen.
- Pat Misch, Nelson Figueroa, Fernando Nieve – Personally, I like Figueroa. He really competes.
Our starting rotation has Santana(#1), John Maine (#3/4), Pelfrey (#5), Jon Niese (#5), Oliver Perez (#5 or not in rotation), or others from last year as a #5. This is terrible!
Our need is a #2 starting pitcher. We’ll have to band-aid the rest of the rotation. A true #2 is John Lackey who will get $15M in the free agent market. Trading for Roy Halladay is too expensive. It will cost the farm and more, plus giving him a new contract at $20M. Lackey at 5 years, $80M (Burnett and Lowe money) is so risky. Let’s be smart and not do it. We need to hit the trade market. How about Roy Oswalt at $15M for only one year? Or Ricky Nolasco who will make about $5M through arbitration. Assumption:Trade for Nolasco: That uses up another $5M of our $30M.
Guess what? We’ve just spent $30M, which pretty much equals our budget.. Easy Come. Easy Go.
Remember – I’ve stuck to a budget. We haven’t helped the relief pitching or the bench at all. And we didn’t get that true #2 starting stud pitcher.
I hope you’ll leave your comments, so next week, I can incorporate them into this plan, to get a better picture of what our 2010 Mets might look like.
For more of my opinions, visit me at Danny Baseball