Think Outside The Box – One Year Contracts Only

An article by posted on December 10, 2009

I think the Mets should change their whole way of thinking.  The Wilpons should give the edict to Omar Minaya that he is restricted to only signing and acquiring players on one year contracts.  There is too much uncertainty with Omar’s ability to make good decisions.   Let’s play the 2010 season under this scenario and see what happens.  Then afterward everything and everyone; players and general manager should be evaluated.  We don’t want Minaya to hamstring the organization, especially if he will not be here after the season.

We can overpay for certain players willing to accept one year contracts.  Let’s get them in and see how they perform.  They will be in a contract year so their incentive to play hard and well should be high.  Then after the season they will all come off the payroll along with some current Mets, leaving us with lots of payroll flexibility for 2011.

I know it’s hard for Mets fans to bite the bullet and accept 2010 as an experimental year.  But everyone wants the Mets to develop a long term plan.  Signing and acquiring players on risky multi-year contracts is not a plan, especially when no one has confidence in the General Manager.

Also remember that if David Wright has a comeback year, and Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, and Johan Santana come back healthy and strong, the Mets will be in a good position to compete.  If most of the above does not happen, no signings and acquisitions will make the Mets competitive for 2010.

This is my short term plan for 2010, which really begins the long term plan.

Starting Pitching – Do not sign Joel Pineiro, Jason Marquis, or John Lackey to multi-year contracts.  No ifs or buts about this.  Cross them off the list.  We know the Oliver Perez signing was a terrible mistake.  While signing these others might not be considered a mistake in year one of the contract, they certainly could turn out to be less than hoped for.  Why compound a terrible error with lesser errors.

I am not proposing doing nothing.  Let’s sign at least two of the injury plagued pitchers who are presumably healthy for 2010.  We can afford to overpay for them because our commitment will only be one year.  Would each of them sign a one year $7M contract plus incentives to reach $10M?  And maybe an option kicking in with 190 innings pitched?  The odds are that this strategy will work for one of the three pitchers being discussed.  After 2010 we owe them nothing and can continue rebuilding with a new GM.

Are we better off risking paying John Lackey for five years $90M or signing the three pitchers above, totaling $21M to $30M for the year?  The point that is worth repeating is that if our four core guys do not have productive seasons we will not be competitive anyway.

1st base – Daniel Murphy is as cheap as they come.  But if the Mets choose to sign Carlos Delgado, at least it would only be for the one year.

 

2nd base – After all the talk and rumors, Luis Castillo might be the man after all.  But if we can trade Castillo for no worse of a contract, then we can go ahead and sign Orlando Hudson.  Again, if necessary, overpay him for one year – $7M plus incentives to $10M, with a club option.

Catcher – Stand firm.  No two year deal for Molina.  If not find someone else – Barajas, Olivo, or a different one year alternative.

Left Field – This is a tough one because I like Matt Holliday.  But the answer is no!  Juan Rivera stands out as a trade candidate except that he is owed 10M over 2 years.  Can we make an exception?  He is very low risk based on his past production.  Otherwise overpay Vladimir Guerrero and have him play left field.  We will still have Angel Pagan to back him up and give him needed rest.

We fans spin our wheels so much thinking how to rebuild this team.  But my approach is truly thinking “outside the box”   If  Reyes, Wright, Beltran, and Santana can all come back healthy and strong we’ll be competitive anyway.  And with the suggested “Plan B” signings or trades we will be in the pennant chase  If it works out, come July, we can make additional trade deadline moves.

Hopefully, this year can be a success and we won’t be saying goodbye to Omar Minaya

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