It was a little disappointing for Mets fans last week when John Harper of the New York Daily News reported that Sandy Alderson would have a spending limit this offseason somewhere in the range of $25 to $30 million. While Jeff Wilpon came out later in the week, calling the spending cap a flexible one, this figure is significantly less than the $35 to $40 million that was originally tossed around.
With four to five major holes to fill, the Mets will certainly need to get creative. They already spend $7.25 million of their available funds signing Chris Young to man a corner outfield spot, solving one problem. However, if the front office wants to sign Nelson Cruz, Curtis Granderson, or a similar outfielder of their caliber, it will likely cost an additional $12 to $15 million, leaving them with less than $10 million to find a shortstop, a starting pitcher, and bullpen help.
It appears to be almost impossible to fill the holes on the Met roster with quality players through free agency exclusively, at least with the current salary restrictions the Mets are under. However, the trade market seems as active as it’s been in years, with a few major deals already taking place, including the swap of Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler. The Mets may be able to stay within their salary restraints if they use this market to their advantage, which will require some creativity.
The Mets have two players that can be dealt to free up sizable money: Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis. Murphy is projected to make $5.8 million through arbitration, while Davis is projected to receive $3.5 million. Together, the Mets can get $9.3 million off the books by dealing these two, canceling out the money spent on Young, and even adding a few extra million to Sandy Alderson’s funds. In the spirit of the offseason, with new rumors flying hour after hour, I put together a few trade proposals that could help keep the front office under its budget constraints (spending half or even less of what it would cost to fill the same need through free agency) while still significantly improving the team,.
- Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada to the Tampa Bay Rays for Yunel Escobar (Net salary change: -$1.3 million)
- Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda to the Baltimore Orioles for J.J. Hardy (Net salary change: -$700k)
- Borrowed from John Harper’s piece a few weeks ago: Jon Niese, Rafael Montero, and Ike Davis to the Toronto Blue Jays for Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Cecil (Net salary change: +$510k)
- Wilmer Flores, Gabriel Ynoa, and Hansel Robles to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Andre Ethier (Dodgers pay half of contract) (Net salary change: +$7.25 million)
- Rafael Montero, Daniel Murphy, and Kevin Plawecki to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Matt Kemp (Dodgers pay $7 million per year) (Net salary change: +$8.2 million)
- Michael Fulmer and a PTBNL to the Los Angeles Angels for Erick Aybar. (Net Salary Change: +$8.5 million)
These are just some rough ideas to get my point across. I’m sure some of these trades are ridiculously one-sided, but they are good starting points. Who is untouchable? Who would you target through the trade market? What needs would you rather spend free agent dollars on? Sound off in the comments section!