On Sunday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote an article in which he said the Mets currently have no workable way to build a championship team for the 2011 season.
“Consider that just for next year, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Francisco Rodriguez, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo make $69 million, which will be about the payroll of the Marlins. If the Mets could just snap their fingers and make those contracts disappear, they would. But they can’t. Instead, the Mets have five of the most unmovable contracts in the majors.”
Sherman also believes that the Mets will make another $15 million dollar cut in payroll this season, due in part to the plummeting attendance at Citi Field.
I’m sure the Mets will try to lower payroll next season, but I don’t see how they could do it when you consider that Jose Reyes, Jason Bay, David Wright, Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Angel Pagan, Pedro Feliciano, and R.A. Dickey (if they in fact re-sign him) are all due for significant raises. Bay, Wright and Reyes alone will combine to earn $14.5 million more next season.
What all of this does show is just how dire the situation really is.
The Mets as currently constructed, are not much more than a .500 team and yet they are outspending most of the teams in the National League.
Next season, this same team which has crumbled under the pressure of trying to perform at a championship level, will have even more pressure to perform in 2011. There’s a saying in the film adaptation of Spiderman that says, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Where the Mets are concerned, with great payroll comes great expectations.
If Sherman is right, and the Mets remain saddled with all of those immovable contracts, two things are certain this offseason:
1. Don’t expect any significant free agent signing this year. You won’t see Omar Minaya at the podium announcing a major signing as he has every year since becoming the General Manager.
2. With the Mets reluctance to move ANY of their minor leaguers, prospects or otherwise, don’t expect a trade to add anything of significant value. If they do find a taker for one of those unmovable contracts, it won’t be for something of value, it will be a pure salary dump.
So what’s the conclusion and how does this bode for the 2011 season?
Basically, what you now see, is what you will get.
This same team that has struggled to hit all season long will be back. This same team that has failed to hit with runners in scoring position and failed to deliver in the clutch will return next season and give fans more of the same.
1B – Ike Davis, 2B Ruben Tejada, SS – Jose Reyes, 3B – David Wright, C – Josh Thole, LF – Jason Bay, CF – Carlos Beltran, RF – Angel Pagan. There is your 2011 Opening Day lineup.
In the months leading up opening day, here are some of the headlines you might see:
Jose Reyes will get smarter. Professor Reyes is back.
Jason Bay fixes power stroke. A Mets fan in Beirut noticed a flaw and contacted the slugger.
David Wright will be more clutch. This is the year… No, seriously… It is…
Ike Davis will get better because he spent December working with Hojo at his home.
Carlos Beltran is in the best shape of his life.
Josh Thole hits the gym and adds 15 pounds of muscle, expect more power.