MMO Fan Shot: What Would Mets Look Like With A $120 Million Payroll?

stephen drew

An MMO Fan Shot by Chuck Banker

What would the Mets look like if we spent $120 million in 2014?

Okay, so we made some waves, singing Curtis Granderson, Chris Young and Bartolo Colon. But were they the right moves? Were they the best moves? What if we spent more?

I love the Granderson signing, very pumped about that… I am confident he will have a solid year and, as importantly, bring some winning experience to a team desperately missing that kind of leadership. I also like the Bartolo Colon signing, especially coming off a fabulous year and bringing more of those intangibles to a pitching staff that is sorely in need of some winning experience.

Chris Young is not a bad signing, but it just doesn’t make much sense as a one-year maneuver when there is nobody behind him. We could have done better here. I like him a lot as a 4th outfielder – just not at the price we paid.

We came into the offseason with multiple holes and after filling a couple of them, multiple questions still remain. We need to stop with this never-ending “building towards next year” philosophy that has us moving the goalposts each new season.

So, what could we have done? And is it too late?

cruz feat

As I said earlier, Granderson and Colon were solid moves, and they will be worthy additions. But we could have signed Nelson Cruz for our other outfield spot at the same price as Curtis, but for three years at $15MM per instead of four. By the way, it’s not too late – – I know we have Chris Young, but he is just a better version of Eric Young only a lot more costly.

We could have had Grant Balfour ( 2 years at $7MM per) examined the day after the Orioles changed their mind, but we sat around and waited until it was too late – a common ailment of ours.

We could have signed Stephen Drew (3 years at $11 per) – – I don’t understand all the noise. He is there waiting for us and has been for months. Again, we show no love to a major upgrade on the field, at the plate, and in the clubhouse.

The other obvious issue remains first base, and we have nothing but multiple question marks with Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Josh Satin – – oy vay! We need a glove and bat here, a big bat, and two of these three guys have no business in the big leagues. Probably why all three logged time in Las Vegas,in 2013. So, the question we have all considered is whether Ike deserves that shot or whether he should be banished to the desert with Duda.

Given the circumstances, I would say our best play is to get Wilmer Flores into the first base battle. Let’s see how they do in spring training and play one or both.

However, if we would have increased payroll to a reasonable $120 million, our lineup could have been quite formidable in defense of our promising pitching.

Our starting pitching, even without Harvey, is pretty exciting with lots of young depth and upside. Balfour probably would have helped our bullpen considerably more than Farnsworth or Valverde, but given our young bullpen options I believe we will still be fine.

In my opinion, our current pitching coupled with the above lineup, challenges for the NL East division title and at the very least wins a wild card this season. How long has that been?

So, what do we do now? Is it too late?

I don’t think so. We clearly don’t have the guts to add Cruz, who would be a bonanza at today’s going rate, but we can keep our fingers crossed with CY knowing we have little behind him. Or, we stick CY in center instead of Lagares, and sign Cruz for a brand new outfield – – now that would be gutsy.

Either way, we need to recognize that we are in desperate need of a major league SS and that Tejada is not the answer if we want to win now. We have two choices – the simple answer is to sign Stephen Drew, or else we need to step up and make a trade for one of the young studs from Arizona, which will probably cost us Montero.

We are not as far away as you think. Let’s step up, make 2014 a playoff year, and become a perennial contender when Matt Harvey returns.

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by Chuck Banker. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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  • Jake Jones

    First of all the reason why Drew is “sitting there waiting for us” is because nobody is willing to sign him more than 1 year. The Mets are playing this smart. Also he wants like 14-15 million per with and opt out. I know our fans love to complain about the payroll but do people forget jason bay luis castillo oliver perez and santana. All those guys cost like 250 million and didnt do much. Im all for spending but spend it correctly

  • Hitmanᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ✔

    What is with this obsession with Cruz? The Mets dont have the guts to sign Cruz? How bout the fact that he’s a terrible defender and his SLG has flatlined since 2010, not counting this year due to his suspension? I’ll wait for Puello, thank you very much. Drew isnt worth it either.

  • Alex68

    On Drew, i am with sandy, nobody wants him at his price. we’re 10 days away from ST and he’s still without a contract from anybody. he’ll improve us i agree, but i wouldn’t want him for more than 3/30 if that until Ahmed is ready in 2017.

    that lineup looks good though, i think it would provide help to wright who’s at his best when he’s surrounded by good players, and would also help the young hitters like Flores and TDA since they won’t have the pressure to have to hit for the team to be good. they can just play their game.

    The bullpen would’ve had a different mindset with Balfour there, he’s a strike thrower and someone who’s not afraid to get beat with his best stuff, often these mets pitchers play around too much around the plate etc… he’d been perfect for us… i am not saying that with $120+ million payroll we would’ve secure a playoff start or anything like that, but we certainly would’ve been better…

    With Cruz, Drew, Colon (Still don’t like him), CG, CY we certainly would’ve been a much better team than we are today.. that team right there would’ve at least made it to september and us watching Mets baseball. with the team we have now, we’d be lucky to make it to july

  • Sylow59

    Cruz = Shiny nickel

  • Joanie Yan

    They could have been a much better team with a payroll of under 100 mil. Rather than spend the 17.5 million per yr on C Young and Colon, I would have signed Drew and Cruz (maybe it would cost 23 mil per yr). For a few million more, you’ve drastically improved the lineup. I would have given some of the young pitchers a chance to make the team.

  • oleosmirf

    Still not a playoff team…

  • Gregg Nice

    Jose Reyes needs to be on this roster. Or is this hypothetical payroll only allowed to have increased this past offseason.

  • Gregg Nice

    I’d also prefer Kazmir at 2 yr 22 mill than Colon at 2 yrs 20.

  • Met lifer

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I do also agree they need to get Flores involved to increase offense. Whether it be with the group at first or give him a shot at short since they will not add a professional short stop like Drew. One thing is clear, this ownership will not give us a reason to get excited by adding the couple of pieces it would take to make us true contenders. Even though it is not too late to add these two pieces, it will never happen. They would even get what they want, attendance. I know I would go more.

  • You must be new Chuck. Great try though. The overwhelming narrative is that yes we’d like more players, but more players doesn’t mean a better team…that’s from Richie Alderson himself. And you can’t spend to spend…that’s from the “educated” fan base. Truth is…when you have a bottom third payroll with a farm system just now emerging, you have a mediocre team at best. One of the advantages the Mets should have is the ability to bring legit talent through free agency, trades, and the international market. They have relinquished this advantage because of unwillingness or inability to spend. However, they’ve also fooled many in the fan base with…you can’t spend to spend so much that…people are failing to recognize that their skimpy payroll means a worsening team. Spending wisely always helps. Furthermore, spending more also allows you to not be crippled when one or two guys struggle. For example, if Granderson and Colon tank, this could be a 60-sometihng win team quickly.

  • Met lifer

    Cruz is about offense not a gold glove. He still could be had for a lot less than what he was asking. Add a legitimate 25+ home runs too the lineup and suddenly you become more formidable . You could always put in someone for defense late. I would agree with Sandy on the drew demands especially with the nutty opt out. Would not agree with that either. This is why they are probably serious with giving Flores a look at short. Besides it put Tejada in the roll he should be in. This team has to many question marks on it to expect all to work.

  • SRT

    Couldn’t agree more with you on Cruz.

  • Destry

    Um….No. No one is willing to give up a 1st RD pick + 3/45. If he weren’t attached to draft pick compensation, he would’ve signed 4/48 a long time ago, just like Peralta did.

  • mad met

    Its not just money its spending it on the right player and the years …a 25 million dollar pitcher last year would not have done crap .we needed a stick… that being said i like playing gm so i will play here..
    Juan L

  • Met lifer

    They probably get it done for 24 to 25 mil for Cruz and Drew and still be 112 payroll and have legitimate shot at playoffs. Thet certainly would bring the fans in with that team.

  • Jake Jones

    Um…..I understand that. The twins were actually looking at Drew too and they ahve a protected pick. Peralta also had better numbers than drew

  • Met lifer

    New lineup.
    C young
    T darnaud

  • Metstheory22

    Cruz is an expensive DH in waiting. Drew is not worth what Boras wants for him. I would put Flores into 1st base mix also.

  • Met lifer

    I don’t think anyone is getting big payday at this point.

  • Met lifer

    Don’t think either get more than 12 million. I won’t be surprised to see one year deals for either one to re-establish their markets for next year.

  • Hard to say in defense of then advocate having to watch Cruz play RF.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    “Chris Young is not a bad signing, but it just doesn’t make much sense as a one-year maneuver when there is nobody behind him.”

    Nobody behind him? Do you mean in the batting order or in the depth charts?

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    The Mets did offer Balfour that contract. He wanted to play in Florida. Can’t hang that on the Mets.

    Shouldn’t we wait for Drew and Cruz to sign before saying we “could’ve had him for XYZ”?

  • rwdavis22461

    first its not just the Mets not going for Drew what does that say about Drew. I think alot of people overrate him he is decent but playing in Boston in Fenway with that lineup is much better fit then Citi Field. I am rare and i want to spend money but not for Stephen Drew next off season there will be alot of ss avail just as good and more worth the money why over pay for 3 -5 more wins when that will not put us in the playoffs anyway. Move on wait till later this season or next off season to fix ss.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    And where did this “Flores can play 1B” talk come from? My guess is right he on MMO because I don’t believe I’ve read a single credible scouting report say he’s capable.

  • Gland1

    If they were going to spend $120million there probably could have been more interesting things for the team to do (trade for Kemp? a SS? Sign Peralta?) than to just sign the last couple of remaining FAs left on the market.

    I also don’t understand the idea that we don’t have “the guts” to sign Cruz. Unless we’re saying it would take guts to throw him into the OF at Citi. But I think it’s the money we don’t have.

  • Taskmaster4450

    I will say it again, the obsession with Drew is very similar to that of Bourn last off season. Let us review how that turned out.

    The Mets could have had Bourn which means no D Smith drafted, no Lagares in CF (most likely all year in AAA), and most likely no Grandy since the millions would be going to Bourn.

    Be honest about Drew…he isnt that great. Is he an improvement over Tejada? Most likely. But is he the best option for the next couple of years? Perhaps not. Who knows what trades or deals will develop. Did anyone foresee Lagares’ emergence last year?

  • EzRider

    We could have had Balfour if he wanted to sign with us and not the Rays. It wasn’t a money or time issue.

    Why would we sign Cruz. An AL/DH and not that good at that anymore. Oh and he would cost us a draft pick and he would be overpriced. Just remember that really only two or three teams have been linked to him and the one team that almost signed him backed off some.

    We didn’t wait to sign FA till nothing was left. The organization targeted specifics and went after them. I still don’t agree with the C.Young signing but i hope for a 1 year deal we get anything good out of him. We were not going to sign any of those other big name items because the team is not in that place yet. Drew would be okay but frankly the cost doesn’t equal the value.

  • BehindTheBag

    Let’s suppose that we take Jeffy and Sandy at their words…there are no restrictions on payroll, but we want to retain payroll flexibility. What we should do is offer Cruz and Drew a soft landing – each of them gets a 1 year deal for $14M (the amount they left on the table by not signing the QO). I believe they’d take it, since they save some face, and I don’t see anyone swooping in to give them 8 figures a year on a long term deal.

    That puts the payroll at $113M, which would have been #13 last year (next year, probably a little lower). Then our lineup looks like this against righties:

    Murphy – 2B
    Drew – SS
    Wright – 3B
    Granderson – RF
    Davis – 1B
    Cruz – LF
    Young – CF
    d’Arnaud – C

    And against lefties:

    Young – CF
    Murphy – 2B
    Wright – 3B
    Granderson – RF
    Cruz – LF
    Davis – 1B
    Drew – SS
    d’Arnaud – C

    Bench is Recker, Duda, Satin, EY, Tejada

    Flores and Lagares are in AAA, waiting for the inevitable injury (no way Cruz plays 140 games).

    That’s a .500 team at least; with a little luck in the pitching department, has an outside chance of a wildcard.